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Tiger women set for strong test

Dakota Wesleyan's Rylie Osthus (10) goes to the basket between Dordt's Payton Harmsen (15) and Dordt's Siennah Stamness (5) during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team is ready to be challenged.

For the second time this season, DWU will host a top-10 matchup at the Corn Palace when the No. 8 Tigers host the No. 3 Concordia Bulldogs in a Great Plains Athletic Conference showdown at 2 p.m. today. On Oct. 31, the Tigers trounced No. 9 Jamestown 87-69 in their season opener and have rattle off five more wins since then, including a 100-70 win over No. 16 Friends University on Nov. 11.

DWU head coach Jason Christensen said he's happy his team is facing tough opponents early in the season and added Concordia might be the toughest test his team faces all year.

"It's exciting and it brings some fun for fans," Christensen said. "It brings some fun for us too. We get to see where we measure up with one of the better teams in the nation."

Christensen said he's watched the top four-ranked teams in NAIA play this season and he called Concordia the best team in the nation.

"They are probably quicker than us and we'll have to be a little bit smarter on how we guard them," Christensen said. "We'll have to do what we do well. Hopefully, we'll be in the game at the end."

Concordia (5-0, 1-0 GPAC) won the GPAC last year with a record of 19-1 and the team's lone conference loss came against the Tigers 75-53 at the Corn Palace. This year, Concordia has also beaten Jamestown 91-83 in overtime on Nov. 10. The Bulldogs are averaging 93 points per game, while holding opponents to an average of 62.8 points per game.

Five Bulldogs are averaging more than 10 points per game with Quinn Wragge leading the way with an average of 13.4 points per game.

Ironically, DWU has five players—Kynedi Cheeseman, Ashley Bray, Jessica Mieras, Amber Bray and Rylie Osthus—each averaging 10 points or more per game. Cheeseman leads the Tigers with an average of 16.7 points per game. Ashley Bray and Mieras each are averaging 14.3 points and Ambery Bray chips in an average of 13.2 points.

In six games, DWU is outrebounded its opponents 252-160 and winning the turnover margin 121-80. Christensen pointed to rebounding and turnovers as keys for DWU.

"They are a really good ballclub and we'll have to be ready to play," Christensen said.

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