Hot second half keys Senior Day victory - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Hot second half keys Senior Day victory

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The women's basketball team sent the seniors off with a bang in their final home contest of the season as they routed Dordt 87-64 to improve to 22-5, 14-4 GPAC on the season. In a game flooded with emotions, Concordia bid farewell to three seniors: Beth Kohmetscher, Katie Rich and Dawn Martin.

From the beginning, Dordt College brought everything it had, and made the season home finale a tough one in the opening half. Both teams traded buckets throughout the first 20 minutes, with neither team gaining much of an upper hand. The largest lead for the Bulldogs was five points, which came at the 9:30 mark off a Rich two point bucket off a Dordt turnover. Concordia shot just 31 percent from the field to Dordt's 50 percent and was outrebounded by the defenders, 27-13. Despite the one-sided numbers, the Bulldogs found themselves down only one point at the intermission.

The halftime speech must have been a good one, because the fiery Bulldogs took command of the second half right from the start, and never looked back.

Leading the way for the thunderous Bulldog takeover were the three senior guards.

Kohmetscher got things started with a 3-point bucket to put the Bulldogs up by two points 57 seconds into the half. Then a free throw by Martin added another point to the lead until Rich added a two point bucket of her own to put the lead at five points for the Bulldogs with 18 minutes to go.

"We came out with a lot of energy," Rich said. "We knew today would be special for us seniors but we knew we really had to come together as a team and have fun. The second half was a lot of fun, we played together. We put the ball in the hole."

Head coach Drew Olson had similar feelings to Rich on the second half turnaround.

"Second half, we played with great energy," Olson said. "I didn't think our first half was really that bad. I thought defensively we were good, but those shots just didn't go in. I felt like we dominated the game, but yet on the scoreboard, we were down. We got after them a little bit in the second half. Our pressure was great and the shots went in."

The Bulldogs shot 44 percent in the second half, to the Defenders' 47 percent. But perhaps the difference maker of the game was Dordt's 28 turnovers to Concordia's 11.

In her last regular season home game as a Bulldog, Rich shared her feelings and emotions on the game and what it meant to her.

"It was pretty exciting and an emotional day too," Rich said. "Playing all four years and having this potentially maybe being our last home game without the tournament, but there was a lot of excitement in the locker room before the game. We were really excited for our three seniors and the team really came together. We put a lot of pride out there."

Rich finished the day with a game high 17 points to go along with five rebounds. Junior Kristen Conahan added 15 points (5-for-5 shooting), while sophomore Bailey Morris chipped in with 11 points and four assists. Sophomore Tracy Pietz dished out four assists as well while fellow sophomore Jericca Pearson grabbed five boards.

Olson expressed his proud and thankful spirit after the game, and gave his thoughts on the seniors' contributions to the program.

"I love all three of them," Olson said. "I can't say enough about Beth, Dawn and Katie. What they've done for our program, the sacrifices they've made for our program through their four years, what great teammates, and what great role-models they are. I'm really happy for them tonight and really proud of what they've become."

With the win, Concordia avenged its first loss of the season – a 96-86 double overtime defeat at Dordt on Jan. 5. The Bulldogs remain one game behind Morningside in the race for the league title.

Concordia will hit the road for its final two games. First it's off to Hastings (15-13, 10-8 GPAC) on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. contest. The regular season concludes next Saturday with a trip to Mount Marty (16-11, 10-8 GPAC) for a game that will tip off at 2 p.m.

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