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South Dakota Mines downs Dakota Wesleyan

The inside presence of the South Dakota School of Mines women's basketball team was too much for Dakota Wesleyan on Friday.

Hillary Hawkins finished with 20 points, and the Hardrockers out-rebounded DWU 56-40 in an 84-63 win Friday at the Corn Palace.

"We did a nice job on the boards," SDM coach Barb Felderman said. "It was pretty balanced, too."

The rebounds keyed a second-half run for SDM (2-1) in which the Hardrockers turned an 11-point lead into a game-changing advantage in a span of almost six minutes.

Hawkins had eight consecutive points during a 22-4 run that put the Tigers in a 29-point hole. Last year's Dakota Athletic Conference freshman of the year, Hawkins finished 5 of 14 from the field, sinking all eight of her free throws.

"She's kind of a utility player for us," Felderman said. "She can bring the ball down -- she can do anything."

During the big run, SDM was able to turn loose balls into scoring opportunities. The Hardrockers made the most of it, much like they did all night. They shot 44 percent (31 of 70) including a 58-percent mark in the first half.

"We got some quick break-points," Felderman said. "Everybody on our team can shoot."

DWU fell apart in the second half, but showed resilience early on. The Tigers cut the deficit to 11 despite shooting 30 percent (21 of 68) for the game.

DWU coach Jason Christensen blamed the loss on an inability to shoot and a poor defensive effort.

"We've got to get better, defensively -- that's what it boils down to," Christensen said. "We just can't guard anybody yet.

"Offensively, I thought we took good shots. They just didn't fall."

For the Tigers (0-2), Micaela Erickson had 14 points and six rebounds. Liz Lamb and Amanda Hart each finished with 11 points.

The Tigers are back in action when they host Black Hills State at 4 p.m. today at the Corn Palace.

SD (2-1): Hillary Hawkins 20, Jerika Ihnen 15, Ariel Granillo 14, Stephany Bjustrom 11, Silke Forstmann 10, Shalane Hampp 9, Many Willmore 7. Totals: 31-70 18-24 86.

DWU (0-2): Micaela Erickson 14, Liz Lamb 11, Amanda Hart 11, Brittany Hills 8, Brittany Pritchard 8, Taylor Piper 4, Shelby Anderson 2, Shawna Evans 2, Shannon Vander May 2, Kenzie Dvoracek 1. Totals: 21-68 14-27 63.