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DWU’s Micaela Erickson (10) looks for an opening to go up for a layup as she is guarded by DSU’s Katy Pillar during the second half of a non-conference game Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Also pictured is Dakota State’s Jayda Swenson (20). ( Aaron Saunders/Republic)

DWU women earn 70-59 win over DSU

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Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball coach Jason Christensen described junior forward Katie Johnson’s play as great and intense as she led the Tigers to a 70-59 victory over in-state rival Dakota State University Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

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Johnson exemplified toughness and grit in the post as she tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.

“I get the benefit of the doubt because we have such good shooters outside and Kim Johnson, who is an All-American, down there with me,” Katie Johnson said. “They get a lot of attention, so I am the forgotten person.”

Katie Johnson got started early putting points up on the board for the Tigers. She scored four points as the Tigers jumped out to a 13-3 lead with help from Kim Johnson, who also knocked down four points.

The Trojans clawed back into the game, going on a 12-5 run to cut the DWU lead to three. DSU used back door cuts, which gave it the opportunity to score or be fouled. The Trojans were 5-of-11 from the free-throw line in the irst half.

The beneficiary of many of those back door cuts was BreeAna Olson. The freshman guard led the Trojans in scoring in the first half with 10 points. She was then held scoreless in the second half by the DWU defense.

“We just couldn’t keep them off the offensive boards,” DSU coach Jeff Dittman said. “We were down five or six, and they stretched it out and that was a hill we just couldn’t get over.”

The Tigers, who outrebounded DWU 46-35, reached the free-throw line just twice in the first half, which could have proved detrimental. But DWU was shooting at a higher frequency from another line — the three-point line.

The Tigers (5-1) drained 7-of-16 3-pointers in the first half. DWU’s main contributor to its success was junior point guard Celeste Beck. The Sioux Falls native knocked down five 3-pointers in the first half, scoring 15 points and giving the Tigers a 37-23 halftime lead.

“They were leaving me open and my teammates were aware that I was feeling it, so they found me,” Beck said. “I just tried to do whatever I can to help my team get the win.”

With the focus on Beck, senior guard Amanda Hart stepped up and scored seven points in the second half, finishing the game with 10 points and six rebounds.

With just over 13 minutes to go in the game, the Tigers held a 54-34 lead, but the Trojans did not go silently into the night.

DSU (2-3) led by junior guard Erin Rabenberg got to within 10 points before running out of time. Rabenberg, who did not score a point in the first half, finished with a team-leading 11 points.

Despite being happy with the win against the Trojans, Christensen said his offense must play better.

“Defensively we were there tonight,” Chrisetensen said. “But offensively, this is the worst offensive performance we put on the floor this year and last year. We have to start understanding, who should be taking shots at certain times during the game.”

The Tigers shot 35.1 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from the beyond the three-point line.

DWU faces Nebraska Wesleyan University in its first Great Plains Athletic Conference game at noon Nov. 23 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

Dakota Wesleyan 70

Dakota State 59

DWU (5-1)

Micaela Erickson 1-5 2-2 4; Taylor Piper 3-11 0-0 6; Amanda Hart 4-13 0-0 10; Kim Johnson 3-10 0-0, 6; Katie Johnson 7-10 2-2 16; Erica Herrold 2-9 2-2 7; Celeste Beck 5-11 0-1 15; Skyler Heyden 0-3 0-0 0; Kristin Sabers 2-5 1-1 6.

DSU (2-3)

Kylie Westover 3-8 4-4 10; BreeAna Olson 5-11 0-4 10; Erin Rabenberg 4-9 1-1 11; Cassie Jacobsen 3-5 1-2 7; Alyson Drooger 3-6 0-0 6; Julie Munson 1-2 3-5 5; Jayda Swenson 2-4 2-4 6; Katy Pillar 1-3 2-2 4.

Halftime: DWU 37-23. 3-point field goals: DWU 9-24 (Beck 5, Hart 2, Sabers 1, Herrold 1), DSU 2-8 (Rabenberg 2). Rebounds: DWU 46 (Ka. Johnson 11), DSU 35 (Drooger 6, Jacobsen 6). Steals: DWU 10 (Erickson 2, Piper 2, Ka. Johnson 2), DSU 8 (Jacobsen 2). Assists: DWU 13 (Hart 4, Beck 4), DSU 11 (Drooger 6). Turnovers: DWU 13, DSU 19. Total fouls: DWU 20, DSU 13. No technical fouls.

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