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Dakota Wesleyan's Erica Herrold drives to the basket past Concordia's Jenna Lehmann during a GPAC game Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

Tigers fall on buzzer beater for second straight game

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Against Dordt College Wednesday, the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team held a double-digit lead before falling on a last-second shot.

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Again Saturday, the Tigers struggled built a 16-point lead on No. 9 Concordia, only to watch it slip away on a last-second layup to fall to the Bulldogs 86-84 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference contest at the Corn Palace.

“We had some bad turnovers again,” DWU women’s basketball coach Jason Christensen said. “We had 21 turnovers and they had 22 points and that was probably the biggest difference. We also didn’t get stops defensively. We didn’t lose that game on the last play of the game or the second to last play or a free-throw. We lost that game with turnovers.”

Becky Mueller hit the game-winning bucket for Concordia. The shot came on an inbound play after Concordia coach Drew Olson called a timeout. Mueller was swarmed by two DWU (15-11, 8-9 GPAC) defenders, but managed to get the shot up on the glass and in.

Mueller finished with 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half. While Mueller scored 11 points in the second half, it was Bailey Morris who did the majority of the heavy lifting in the second half for Concordia. Morris scored 21 second-half points and finished with a game-high 34.

“I think she is the best player in our league,” Olson said. “She is so good at being able to create shots for herself and others. She does a great job of getting everybody involved, but then she also knows when she needs to take over and will the team.”

The Bulldogs (22-5, 14-3 GPAC) also chipped away at the DWU lead by making free throws. Concordia took 36 shots at the line, making 32 of them.

Wesleyan controlled the first half, building a 13-point lead heading into the locker room. The Tigers were 15-of-29 from the field in the first half.

Senior guard Amanda Hart led the way for Wesleyan with 12 first-half points, finishing with 18. Hart also had five assists, five rebounds and was 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. Her lone missed free-throw came with 23 seconds left in the game, which would have given the Tigers a one-point lead.

Junior guard Celeste Beck tallied a team-high 22 points and seven assists. She was also 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. Senior forward Kim Johnson added 18 points for the Tigers, who finished the game 25-of-52 from the field.

Concordia shot 25-of-63 from the field, but many of the Bulldogs’ misses came in the first half, which saw them shoot 24 percent.

“We just need to buckle down on defense and start getting stops and take care of the ball on offense,” Beck said.

The Tigers have lost their last five games and are scheduled to host Trinity Bible College at 6 p.m. Monday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

NOTES: Seniors Taylor Piper, Micaela Erickson, Kim Johnson and Amanda Hart were honored before the game for DWU senior night.

Concordia University 86

Dakota Wesleyan 84

CU (22-5, 14-3 GPAC) Bailey Morris 8-17 15-15 34; Tracy Petiz 5-8 11-12 21; Kelsey Hizer 1-4 5-7 7; Shelby Quinn 1-3 0-0 2; Becky Mueller 6-15 1-2 13; Devin Edwards 0-2 0-0 0; Lori Laboda 1-1 0-0 3; Kristen Conahan 2-9 0-0 4; Jenna Lehmann 1-2 0-0 2; Ashley Kuntz 0-2 0-0 0; Team totals: 25-63 32-36 86.

DWU (15-11, 8-9 GPAC) Taylor Piper 0-2 0-0 0; Amanda Hart 6-12 3-4 18; Celeste Bec 5-11 10-10 22; Kim Johnson 6-10 5-6 18; Katie Johnson 3-6 2-3 8; Savannah Minder 0-0 0-0 0; Micaela Erickson 1-2 2-3 4; Erica Herrold 1-5 6-8 8; Kristin Sabers 3-4 0-2 6; Team totals: 25-52 28-36 84.

Halftime: 43-30 DWU; 3-point goals: DWU 6-15 (Hart 3, Beck 2, Ki. Johnson), CU 4-20 (Morris 3, Laboda); Rebounds: DWU 39 (Ka. Johnson 7), CU 32 (Pietz 6); Assists: DWU 21 (Beck 7), CU 8 (Morris 4); Steals: DWU 6 (Piper 2, Beck 2 Ki. Johnson 2), CU 10 (Pietz 3); Turnovers DWU 21, CU 13; Team fouls: DWU 26, CU 26; Foul outs: DWU Ka. Johnson, CU Pietz; Technical fouls: None.

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