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DWU women cruise to 81-56 victory over Dordt

DWU’s Katie Johnson is fouled as she goes up for a layup during a Great Plains Athletic Conference women’s basketball game against Dordt College Wednesday at the Corn Palace. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

Despite being up by nine points at halftime, Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball coach Jason Christensen knew his team could play better.

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In the opening half the Tigers shot 42 percent from the field and accrued 10 fouls, but DWU (8-2, 3-1 GPAC) responded by scoring 48 points in the second half to earn an 81-56 win over Great Plains Athletic Conference foe Dordt College Wednesday at the Corn Palace.

“I think our kids showed some heart tonight,” Christensen said. “Tonight our intensity was great. We came out and played hard on the offensive and the defensive end. We were diving after balls and we showed a lot of character tonight.”

Leading the charge for the Tigers was Katie Johnson, who recorded her second double-double of the season. Johnson finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Throughout the game, the junior forward was seen fighting with Dordt post players for rebounds.

Along with freshman forward and Mitchell native Kristin Sabers, Johnson helped the Tigers go on a 10-3 run at the beginning of the second half. The run gave DWU a 14-point lead and virtual control of the game.

During the run, Sabers and Johnson each scored five points. Sabers finished the evening with 12 points.

Junior guard Micaela Erickson also chipped in with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. Erickson scored many of her baskets by attacking the rim to score on layups or get fouled.

“I think we really came together as a team tonight,” Erickson said. “Our mindset is to attack. When they throw a press at us, we just want to attack and if we make a mistake, we just pick each other up.”

Dordt hung around in the first half despite shooting 32 percent from the field. A large reason for that was forward Elise Maresh. She was 5-of-12 from the field with 10 points in the first half. Maresh picked up where she left off in the second half, finishing the game with 22 points.

“We went to her a lot and we did go to her when we needed a bucket,” Dordt women’s basketball coach Craig Stiemsma said. “She is a really good player so we tried to get her the ball. We wanted to get the ball to her in a spot where she could do some damage and she did tonight.”

Kara Van Dyke added nine points and 12 rebounds for the Defenders, who are now 6-5 on the season.

Outside of Maresh, no Dordt player scored in double figures. The Defenders shot 32 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from behind the three-point line.

The Tigers were 28-of-60 from the field and 8-of-20 from behind the three-point line.

“We did score enough points and we had some unforced turnovers,” Stiemsma said. “We didn’t get to the free-throw line enough to win the game, but a lot of credit has to go to Dakota Wesleyan. They executed well and were very good from start to finish.”

The Tigers host Doane College in another GPAC contest at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.

DWU 81

Dordt 56

DWU (8-2, 3-1GPAC)

Micaela Erickson 4-10 4-5 14; Taylor Piper 4-7 1-2 9; Amanda Hart 5-12 0-0 12; Kim Johnson 3-6 1-2 12; Katie Johnson 5-9 6-9 16; Savannah Minder 0-0 0-0 0; Erica Herrold 0-3 1-3 1; Celeste Beck 1-3 2-2 4; Kelsey Little 0-0 2-2 2; Kristin Sabers 5-8 0-0 12; Legea Berryhill 0-0 0-0 0; Lexy Jo Deke 1-2 0-0 3; Shelbie Drey 0-0 0-0 0.

Dordt (6-5, 2-4 GPAC)

Jasmin Schelhaas 1-7 0-0 3; Danelle Boone 3-7 0-0 9; Kara Van Dyke 4-9 1-2 9; Kim Kroeze 1-5 0-0 2; Elise Maresh 7-17 8-11 22; Abby Chapman 0-1 0-0 0; Kayla Broekhuis 0-3 0-0 0; Emily Neuman 0-0 2-2 2; Jessica Jelsma 2-6 1-2 5; Robyn Blount 0-3 0-0 0; Paige Engbers 0-0 0-0 0; Mycah Hulst 2-2 0-1 4; Shae De Jager 0-2 0-0 0.

Halftime 33-24 DWU; 3-point goals: DWU 8-20 (Erickson 2, Hart 2, Kim Johnson, Sabers 2, Deneke 1), Dordt 4-22 (Boone 3, Schelhaas); Rebounds: DWU 42 (Ka. Johnson 12), Dordt (Van Dyke 12); Assists: DWU 18 (Kim Johnson 5), Dordt 9 (Kroeze 2, Van Dyke 2); Steals: DWU 5 (Piper 2, Beck 2), Dordt 5 (Schelhaas, Kroeze, Maresh, Jelsema, Hulst); Turnovers: DWU 12, Dordt 14; Player fouls: DWU 18, Dordt 21; Technical fouls: none