HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - For the first time in over four years, the 4th Ranked Hastings College women's basketball team came away with an impressive 66-59 victory over #1 Concordia University on Wednesday evening. This win give the Lady Broncos their best start to a season in school history with 18 straight wins.
The Lady Broncos limited the Bulldogs to just 36.7% shooting on the night while forcing 25 turnovers, 12 coming from steals. Hastings shot the ball very well in the first half, as they come out shooting an impressive 48.5% in the first half. Coming into this game, both teams knew it was going to be a dog fight until the end, and it was.
Both teams to start the game battled back and forth with each other until Hastings was able to put together a quick 8-0 run to give themselves an 21-14 lead in the first. A late basket by the Bulldogs would cut the Hastings lead to just three as the end of the first quarter.
Back-to-back baskets by Gabby Grasso (SR/Omaha, NE) would quickly give her team a seven-point lead to start off the second quarter. Concordia would march right back though, as they would hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 29-29 in the early parts of the second quarter. It would be all Hastings to finish out the first half of play as the Bulldogs would fail to find the basket in the final 6:29 left in half. Kaitlyn Schmit (JR/Omaha, NE) would get things going with a three-pointer to give the Lady Broncos back the lead. HC would go on to score 12 straight points to take an 42-31 lead into halftime.
As both team returned to the court after half, the Lady Broncos picked up right where they ended things before halftime with baskets by Emma Grenfell (SR/York, NE), Shandra Farmer (SR/Hastings, NE), and Sophia Pankratz (SR/Hastings, NE) would push the lead up to 15 with 7:04 left in the third quarter. They would stop there, as a pair of free throws by Grasso and a basket by Dawson Knode (FR/Haxtun, CO) would give the Lady Broncos a 54-37 lead with 3:42 to go in the third. Concordia would cut into the lead just a bit but would trail Hastings by 13 as they entered the final quarter.
There would be a dramatic change of momentum during the fourth quarter as with 5:46 left to go, after a foul on Farmer, she would have to exit the game due to injury forcing Taylor Beacom (SO/Papillion, NE) to come in the game and take Farmer's free throws. From here on out, the Bulldogs would force the on-ball pressure on the Lady Broncos causing them to turn the ball over and allowing them to climb back into the game cutting the lead to just seven with 3:23 remaining before Farmer would make her way back to the court. During the short stretch Farmer was out, the Hastings miss both shot attempts and turned the ball over twice.
Once back into the game, Farmer would turn the ball over two more times, before Pankratz would deliver a monster block to swing the momentum back into the Lady Broncos favor with 1:11 left. A pair of miss free throws by Hastings with :53 seconds left gave Concordia an opportunity to make it a one possession game but would miss their shot and send Farmer to the line to seal the game. The Lady Broncos would take the game 66-59.
Grasso would lead the Lady Broncos on the day, as she went 5-for-10 for 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds while also adding four blocks. Pankratz would fall right behind Grasso as she had 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting and six boards of her own. Schmit would be the last Lady Bronco with double digit points as she would add 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting. Farmer would finish with nine points and five assists. Grenfell led the team in steals with six.
Concordia won the rebound battle, 37-29.
Hastings improves to best start in school history 18-0 (10-0) on the year and will be back in action Saturday Jan. 15 as the Lady Broncos will be on the road to take on the Midland Warriors with a tip-off set for 6:00 p.m. CST.