SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Taylor women’s basketball team ended its season in the NAIA National Championship Tournament Round of 16, as No. 2 Concordia handed the Trojans a 71-50 defeat on Friday, March 9 in the Tyson Events Center.
Kendall Bradbury scored the first bucket of the game, but the top-seeded Bulldogs (34-1) hit four of their next five shot attempts to take an early 10-2 lead. Bradbury answered with a triple and Aubrey Wright added two free throws to bring TU back to within three, before Concordia outscored the Trojans, 11-2, over the final 4:41 for a 21-9 CU lead after 10 minutes of play.
Both squads attempted 13 shots in the opening stanza, but the Bulldogs connected on eight shots, while the Purple and Gold managed to make just three.
The Trojans (24-11) flipped the script in the second quarter, as TU held Concordia scoreless for the first 6:12, while Taylor netted 10 points to trail by just two, 21-19, with 4:47 remaining until halftime. The Bulldogs answered TU’s 10-point spurt with a 9-0 run of its own to push the lead back up to 11 late in the period.
Haley Stratman drained a three-pointer with 34 seconds left to trim the deficit to eight, before a pair of free throws made it a 32-22 tally in favor of Concordia at the intermission. Lauren James swished a deep trey at the buzzer that would have made it a seven-point spread at half, but the basket was waved off after official review.
Over the first 20 minutes, Concordia shot 39.3 percent from the floor, while the Trojans mustered just 29.2 percent shooting.
Cassidy Wyse’s three at the 8:08 mark brought Taylor to within seven early in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs quickly responded with eight consecutive points to push the lead to 15 and finished the stanza on a 14-4 run to take a commanding 58-35 advantage after three quarters, and CU maintained its lead en route to the 71-50 win.
Concordia forced TU into a season-high 29 turnovers on the day and scored 34 points off those miscues, while Taylor registered just 15 points off CU’s 19 turnovers. The Bulldogs also owned a 30-18 advantage in points in the paint and posted an 11-2 margin in second chance points.
Bradbury notched her 17th double-double in the season-ending loss, tallying 18 points and 12 boards, while Wyse notched 12 points and six rebounds in her final game wearing the purple and gold to finish eighth all-time at Taylor with 1,527 career points.
The Sweet 16 loss brings the end of the careers of TU’s three seniors Josie Cobb, Wyse and Sierra Wilson, as the trio helped the Trojans record the second-most wins in a season in program history, while earning the program’s first trip to the NAIA National Championship Tournament since 2010 and TU’s first win in the tournament since 2007.
The Trojans also took down a program-record seven teams ranked inside the NAIA Top-25 and piled up a team-record 317 three-pointers in 2017-2018.
Cobb ends her career as the 17th-most proficient scorer in Taylor history with 1,165 points, joining Wyse as one of 24 players in team history to score 1,000 points at Taylor.
TU returns 10 lettermen to next year’s squad and three starters, as well as four of its top-six scorers for the 2018-2019 season.