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DWU women blow halftime lead

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- To start the game, it looked like some of the momentum from the Dakota Wesleyan University's upset win against No. 3 Northwestern Wednesday would carry into Saturday's game.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- To start the game, it looked like some of the momentum from the Dakota Wesleyan University's upset win against No. 3 Northwestern Wednesday would carry into Saturday's game.

The Tigers jumped to an early lead that extended to double digits as Briar Cliff struggled shooting the ball early. But the Chargers found their rhythm offensively and were able to pull away for a 72-66 win Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa.

"We kind of felt like we had the chance to put them away," DWU coach Aaron Kahl said. "But we had some shots that didn't go in, and we let it affect our energy on defense."

Dakota Wesleyan had no problems finding its stride. It grabbed a 19-5 lead early and extended that lead to 23-10 as Briar Cliff struggled to make open shots.

But the Chargers started hitting their shots and mounted a 12-0 run to cut into the Tigers' lead, which was down to 29-24 at halftime.

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Briar Cliff kept hitting baskets, and ran out to a 44-35 lead early in the seoncd half. But DWU wasn't done yet. The Tigers went on a 9-0 run to tie the score at 44.

Dakota Wesleyan stayed within a few points throughout the final minutes of the game, but Liz Grider, who leads the GPAC in scoring, went 7-for-8 from the line and the Chargers went 8-for-10 as a team to seal the win down the stretch.

"We kind of went cold and didn't make shots for awhile there, and they took advantage of that opportunity," Kahl said. "(Grider) made a lot of baskets late. You're always concerned about a player of her caliber. She's very, very good, and we didn't do as good of a job as we needed to identify where she was."

Sarah Mortenson scored 13 first-half points to lead Dakota Wesleyan in its hot first half and finished with a team-high 16 points. She also had eight rebounds. Jessica Deinert was 4-for-6 from three-point range and finished with 12 points and Allison Johnson added 10 points and seven assists. The Tigers were 24-for-49 from the field and 10-for-17 from the line.

Grider, who averages 19.9 points per game, finished with a career-high 31 points. Christa Stewart added 12 points and 13 rebounds and Megan Salcedo added 10 points. Briar Cliff was 22-for-54 from the field and 20-for-27 from the line.

The Tigers host Concordia Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader at 6 p.m. at the Corn Palace in their final regular-season home game of the season.

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