FORT WAYNE – Friday was Pink Out night at Concordia, so the Cadets’ girls swapped out their traditional maroon-and-white uniforms for all-pink threads.
No matter. Color them SAC champs whatever the shade.
Courtney Smith scored 23 points, Rachel Kammeyer added 13 and Concordia forced 18 turnovers as the Cadets ran the Wayne Generals out of the gym 58-33 to secure an SAC title hardly anyone saw coming in the unsuspecting days of November.
The Cadets (16-3, 6-0) forced 14 turnovers and held the Generals (6-10, 2-4) to four field goals in the first half, taking a 21-point lead at the break that Wayne could never whittle away.
I thought we played pretty well in the first half, Concordia coach Dave Miller said. We got out and ran and that was triggered off our defense, so I thought that was really good.
Wayne’s got a really quick team, so we had to come out with a lot of energy, and I thought we did that in the first half.
And the SAC title?
I think we’ve had good leadership from our kids, Miller said. We had three kids that played a lot last year, and so that leadership has been really good. Courtney Smith as a senior has really stepped up and was just really solid in a lot of ways for us this year. And then we had a lot of other kids too. And our bench is getting better.
So it’s just been a lot of things, and the kids have come together really well. They listen and try to get better every day and that’s what it’s all about.
Friday night, it was all about a fast start that dictated everything thereafter.
Concordia opened with a 9-0 run and stretched it to 18-4 after a quarter, feasting on eight Wayne turnovers.
Another 9-0 run across a 5:17 stretch of the second widened the gulf to 29-6, a pair of Erin Adair free throws with 1:31 showing giving the Cadets their biggest lead of the half.
It was 31-10 at the break.
Wayne got it down to 31-18 with an 8-0 run to open the second half, and the Generals eventually trimmed it to 10, at 41-31, on a Carmen James 3-pointer with 6:46 left.
But that was the high-water mark for Wayne. The Cadets answered by scoring 17 of the last 19 points, making 11 of 12 free throws down the stretch and holding the Generals to a pair of free throws across that last 6:46.
Wayne made just one field goal in eight attempts in the fourth quarter.
Appropriate, considering defense is another reason the Cadets wound up where they were Friday.
Yeah, it’s pretty much key to every team we’ve had at Concordia, Smith said. That’s our main goal is to have good defense.
We don’t really say too much about offense. We know we have talent for that and it’ll come.
And much else with it.