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No. 3 Morningside defeats Tiger women 74-59

Brooke Cersosimo/Republic Dakota Wesleyan's Kim Johnson goes up for a layup in a Great Plains Athletic Conference game against No. 3 Morningside College at the Corn Palace Wednesday.

At the start of the week, the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team had its sights set on cracking into the top 25 national poll.

But on Wednesday, No. 3 Morningside College made the goal seem somewhat distant as it defeated the Tigers 74-59 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup at the Corn Palace.

"We've just got to get this out of our head that we can't compete with top teams," DWU head coach Jason Christensen said. "Until we get that out of our head, this is what it's going to be."

Junior guard Taylor Piper said the Tigers (8-3, 2-2 GPAC) believe they can beat some of the top teams, but needs to make the changes out on the court.

"It's a matter of being aggressive and being the attacking team," Piper said. "Sometimes, we let the other team dictate what we do, and that's why we end up getting behind."

In a physical contest, the Tigers, who were only down by six at the half, were unable to stay with the Mustangs (8-1, 3-1 GPAC).

"Their post play was a little more physical, and we were satisfied with letting them push us around instead of us trying to push them back," Christensen said. "It's like a boxing match. When we got punched in the face, we didn't punch them back."

Morningside forward Ashlynn Muhl controlled the paint, scoring a game-high 22 points, while DWU's Kim Johnson scored a team-high 19 points.

The Mustangs, who had three players score in double digits, had the hot hand from the field, making 45.9 percent of their shots and converting 9-of-20 three-point baskets.

"That's Morningside," Christensen said. "They didn't do anything that we didn't see on film, but they are a good team, and they'll do that all night long."

The Tigers were sluggish at the free-throw line, finishing 11-of-22 in the game.

Piper said her team needs to take advantage of those opportunities.

"It's definitely a deflating thing to not make those shots because it's an opportunity given to you," said Piper, who scored seven points.

Junior guard Amanda Hart had 18 points, recording a game-high six 3-pointers. Five of the six were in the first half. DWU shot 40.8 percent from the field

DWU turns around to play top-ranked Concordia Saturday, and Christensen said some changes in the way the team practices must be made.

"We've got to put them in these tough situations in practice," he said. "Our effort is there, but we're not mentally strong enough to compete with those good teams."

Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Saturday in Seward, Neb.



Morningside (8-1, 3-1 GPAC)

Chelsie Trask 5-10 2-3 16; Shelby Beaudette 4-15 0-0 10; Lean Osten 1-2 0-0 4; Ashlynn Muhl 8-11 6-8 22; Hanna Blum 1-4 0-0 2; Randi Ebert 1-2 0-0 3; Bobbie McManaman 0-0 0-0 0; Nicole Rauner 2-2 0-0 5; Jessica Tietz 1-2 1-2 3; Jordyn Wollenburg 2-4 0-0 4; Lacey Lehmann 3-7 0-0 7; Kalene Anderson 0-2 0-0 0.

DWU (8-3, 2-2 GPAC)

Elizabeth Lamb 1-5 0-0 2; Taylor Piper 1-4 5-7 7; Amanda Hart 6-13 0-0 18; Brittany Hill 0-2 1-2 1; Kim Johnson 8-14 3-8 19; Lexie Christensen 0-0 0-0 0; Celeste Beck 2-7 0-1 6; Katie Johnson 2-4 2-4 6.

Halftime: Morningside 39-33. 3-point goals: Morningside 9-20 (Trask 4, Beaudette 2, Ebert 1, Rauner 1, Lehmann 1), DWU 8-20 (Hart 6, Beck 2); Rebounds: Morningside 38 (Muhl 12), DWU 31 (Lamb 5, Beck 5, Katie Johnson 5); Assists: Morningside 21 (Beaudette 5), DWU 16 (Kim Johnson 5); Turnovers Morningside 12, DWU 16; Total fouls: Morningside 21, DWU 14. Technical fouls: none.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.