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Tiger women beat Briar Cliff 81-73

DWU’s Celeste Beck navigates her way through the lane past Briar Cliff defenders during the first half of a Great Plains Athletic Conference game Tuesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)2 / 2

The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team had a hard time closing out the win Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

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But the Tigers (14-6, 7-4 GPAC) got the job done and earned their seventh Great Plains Athletic Conference victory with an 81-73 victory over Briar Cliff University.

“We were kind of on our heels a bit, but I was proud of the way our kids played,” DWU women’s basketball coach Jason Christensen said. “We outrebounded a pretty athletic team and I thought we did a good job defensively.”

Throughout the second half, Wesleyan held a 14-point lead on two occasions, a 13-point lead and a 15-point lead. Still, DWU could not seem to put the Chargers away.

Down 75-60 with 3:43 minutes to go, Briar Cliff went on a 10-2 run to close the once-15-point gap to seven. Charger guard Slone Masters scored five of Briar Cliff’s 10 points during the stretch. She would go on to score 20 points in the half and finish with a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds.

The Tigers were saved Wednesday by free-throws and made three-point baskets. 

Wesleyan got to the line 27 times and converted 21 of those opportunities. DWU also made 10-of-28 three-point attempts.

Christensen said he was proud of his team’s aggressive play Wednesday. After the game, he pointed out that in the first matchup of the year against Briar Cliff (12-10, 5-7 GPAC), the Chargers outshot the Tigers from the free-throw line. In that game, which Wesleyan lost 89-88, the Chargers were 26-of-38 from the free-throw line, while the Tigers were 11 of 15.

“DWU did what they needed to do to win the game,” Briar Cliff women’s basketball coach Mike Power said. “They made free throws and they hit some big-time threes. When they were on fire, we didn’t do a good job of stopping them.”

DWU junior guard Micaela Erickson hit seven free throws en route to scoring 13 points. DWU senior guard Amanda Hart did the most damage from three-point range for the Tigers. Hart, an Alexandria native, drained six 3-pointers and scored a team-high 22 points. Hart led the way for the Tigers in the first half as she scored 12 points after going 4-of-8 from three-point range prior to halftime. Wesleyan took a 35-26 lead into the half.

Wesleyan junior guard Celeste Beck also got in on the three-point shooting affair, by draining two. Beck finished with 21 points as the Tigers were 25-of-61 from the field. She did the majority of her work down the stretch, scoring 15 second-half points.

“Anytime we can hit shots from the outside, things will go well for us,” Hart said. “Celeste has been shooting the ball well for us lately and when we are both hitting shots, we are tough to beat.”

DWU’s next GPAC matchup is against Midland University at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Dakota Wesleyan 81

Briar Cliff 73

DWU (14-6, 7-4 GPAC)

Taylor Piper 1-3 3-6 5; Amanda Hart 6-17 4-4 22; Celeste Beck 8-17 2-8 21; Kim Johnson 1-5 0-0 3; Katie Johnson 2-3 2-2 6; Savannah Minder 0-0 0-0 0; Micaela Erickson 3-5 7-9 13; Erica Herrold 2-5 2-2 6; Kelsey Little 0-0 0-0 0; Kristin Sabers 2-6 0-0 5.

BC (12-10, 5-7 GPAC)

Lexi Henschke 3-5 0-3 7; Jordan Sanger 1-5 0-0 2; Summer Gordon 3-5 1-2 7; Slone Masters 9-11 6-8 25; Regan Cooper 2-6 0-0 4; Paige Herrboldt 2-6 0-0 5; McKenzie Shipley 1-3 1-2 3; Alex Fuller 4-8 0-0 12; Kaitlin Meister 0-0 0-0 0; Heather Haber 1-3 0-0 2; Morgan Hansen 1-4 0-0 2; Kaylee Blake 2-9 0-0 4.

Haftime: 35-26 DWU: 3-point goals: DWU 10-28 (Hart 6, Beck 2, Sabers, Ki. Johnson), BC 7-19 (Fuller 4, Henschke, Masters, Herrboldt); Rebounds: DWU 46 (Ka. Johnson 10), BC 34 (Masters 9); Assists: DWU 16 (Beck 5), BC 10 (Henschke 3, Hansen 3); Steals: DWU 10 (Ka. Johnson 3), BC 9 (Masters 6); Turnovers: DWU 21, BC 17; Team fouls: DWU 16, BC 20; Technical fouls: None.

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