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Slow first half dooms Wesleyan women in 73-69 loss to MMC

Dakota Wesleyan's Katie Johnson, right, goes up for a layup while Mount Marty's Allison De Kam defends during a women's conference basketball game Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

The Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball team struggled to accrue points during the first half of its game against Mount Marty College Wednesday night at Corn Palace.

The Tigers went scoreless in their first six possessions en route to shooting 20 percent from the field in the first half. DWU made just seven of its 35 first half shots and finished the half with 18 points.

Three of those seven buckets came from Katie Johnson, who scored seven points in the first half to keep the Tigers within striking distance. The sophomore, who is averaging 6.5 points per game, came off the bench and led DWU in scoring with 14 points as the Tigers fell to Mount Marty College 73-69 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference game.

"I have been struggling lately, so I have been trying to be the garbage man, and tonight I guess I was able to take at them a little more than typically," Johnson said after the game.

Despite being down by 13 at halftime, DWU found its shooting stroke in the second half and made 22 of its 38 shots. Leading that second-half effort was senior Elizabeth Lamb and Johnson.

Lamb scored the first five points of a DWU run that cut Mount Marty's lead to nine. Johnson jumpstarted the Tigers' second run of the half with a three-point play. That 11-5 surge helped DWU cut the Mount Marty lead to three.

"The kids showed some heart there, but we missed four layups at the end and even though we had a comeback, we couldn't stop their drive," DWU head coach Jason Christensen said. "We weren't ready to play, and if you are not ready to play in this conference, what happens is you get beat."

The Tigers were down by four points with just under two minutes left in the ball game and missed three consecutive layups.

After Dakota Wesleyan's third missed layup, Mount Marty guard April Winne, a Scotland native, drove to the basket and was fouled.

The junior, who was one of four Lancers to score in double figures, clinched the game by making one of her two free throws to make it a two possession game.

Winne, April Forsch and Raquel Sutera each scored 14 points, while Brittany Little finished with a team-high 15 points for Mount Marty, who are now 14-8. Sutera is a Tabor native.

Next, Dakota Wesleyan hits the road to take on Doane College at 2 p.m. Saturday in Crete, Neb.



MMC (14-8, 9-5)

Alexa Berg 3-10 0-0 7, April Winne 4-8 5-6 14, Taylor Forsch 3-10 5-7 14, Allison De Kam 1-4 0-1 2, Brittany Little 5-10 5-7 15, Kelli Norrid 0-1 0-0 0, Holly Hegge 3-6 0-0 7, Raquel Suter 5-7 1-2 14.Totals: 24-56 16-23 73.

DWU (16-7, 7-6)

Elizabeth Lamb 3-6 0-0 8, Taylor Piper 3-11 0-0 7, Amanda Hart 3-9 0-0 8, Brittany Hills 4-9 1-3 9, Kim Johnson 5-14 0-2 10, Lexie Christensen 0-0 0-0 0, Celeste Beck 5-15 2-2 13, Katie Johnson 6-9 2-3 14. Totals: 29-73 5-10 69.

Halftime: MM 31-18. 3-point goals: MM 9-20 (Forsch 3, Sutera 3, Hegge, Winne, Berg), DWU 6-15 (Lamb 2, Hart 2, Beck, Piper). Rebounds: MM 46 (Little 9), DWU 34 (Hart 8, Johnson 8). Assists: MM 10 (Winne 5), DWU 16 (Johnson 6). Steals: MM 3 (Berg 1, De Kam 1, Little 1), DWU 6 (Ka. Johnson 2). Turnovers: MM 17, DWU 7; Totals fouls: MM 11, DWU 19; Technical fouls: None.