Johnson’s big game leads DWU women to 74-72 win over Mayville StateBehind the hot hand of junior forward Kim Johnson, the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team eked out a 74-72 win over Mayville State University in its season-opener Friday night at the Corn Palace.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
Behind the hot hand of junior forward Kim Johnson, the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team eked out a 74-72 win over Mayville State University in its season-opener Friday night at the Corn Palace.
Johnson, who was named the MVP of the Fulton State Bank Classic game, struggled in the first half of the game, going 3-for-10 from the field. But she kept shooting and eventually regained her form, finishing the night with 30 points on 13-of-26 shooting.
“It’s a struggle when you’re not making shots because you feel like you’re forcing it, but when your coach believes in you, that helps a lot,” she said, “and once you start making them, you just feel a lot better and more confident.”
Her most important shot of the night was a three-ball she drained with 19 seconds to go that gave the Tigers the lead.
“I honestly thought I was going to air-ball it,” she added. “I thought I was short, but it went in and then I did my little fist pump.”
While Johnson knocked down the game-winning three, it would have not been possible without the strong team defense the Tigers played the last minute of the game while trailing by five points.
“We talked about it in our last timeout, and we said we had to be perfect three times,” said DWU head coach Jason Christensen. “We had to be perfect on defense, we had to score and be perfect on defense again, and I said if you do that we’ll win, and we did.
“A couple years ago, when I first got here, if we were down by five with 1:11 we would have lost by 15. These kids have really bought in to what we really want to do. They believe that no matter what the score is at the end, we are going to keep battling and see what happens and that’s what we did.”
Mayville team was led by junior center Marcisa McMillan, who battled with Johnson all night in the paint and finished the game with 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
“I thought we showed a lot of character tonight we didn’t give up,” Christensen said.
Dakota Wesleyan will get a chance to add another victory to the win column at 6 p.m. today, when the Tigers take on Oglala Lakota College at the Corn Palace.
DWU 74, Mayville State 72
Dakota Wesleyan (1-0, 0-0) Elizabeth Lamb 6-8 0-0 12, Taylor Piper 3-10 2-4 8, Amanda Hart 3-11 0-0 8, Brittany Hill 2-5 1-6 7, Kim Johnson 13-26 2-3 30, Lexie Christensen 0-1 0-0 0, Celeste Beck 0-3 0-0 0 Katie Johnson 3-9 3-4 9, Shekela Quarles 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-73 8-17 74.
Mayville State (2-1, 0-0)
Hailey Longtin 4-10 0-0 11, Kay Laforet 1-2 0-0 2, Sabrina Rude 5-10 0-0 15, Marcisa McMillan 10-12 5-9 27, Erica Amann 0-1 0-0 0, Samanta Heir 0-5 0-0 0, Liza Hoglo 5-9 1-2 12, Missy Kassube 0-2 1-4 1, Erica Henrikson 0-0 0-0 0, Angela Tauer 1-5 1-2 4. Totals: 26-56 8-17 72.
3-point goals: DWU 6-17 (Hart 2-8, Hill 2-3, Ki. Johnson 2-4). Mayville State 8-17 (Longtin 3-5, Rude 5-10, McMillan 2-2, Hoglo 1-1, Tauer 1-4). Rebounds: DWU: 43 (Ki. Johnson 8 Ka. Johnson 8). Mayville State: 38 (Rude 9). Turnovers: DWU: 9, Mayville State: 18. Steals: DWU: 7 (Piper 2, Hill 2) Mayville State: 5 (Rude 3). Total Fouls: DWU 15, Mayville State 18. Technical Fouls: none.