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Tiger women topple IU East, advance to second round

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Dakota Wesleyan's Madison Mathews (12) grabs a rebound over the top of Indiana University East's Imani Reese (32) during a game in the first round of the NAIA Division II National Tournament on Wednesday at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. (Matt Gade / Republic)2 / 2

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — It was Madison Mathews’ turn on Wednesday.

The 5-foot-8 guard helped provide a spark for the No. 7-ranked Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team, scoring 13 points off the bench. With Mathews leading the charge in the opening tournament game for DWU, the second-seeded Tigers rolled into the second round with a 78-62 victory over seventh-seeded Indiana University East at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Along with Mathews, Amber Bray, Rylie Osthus and Kynedi Cheeseman finished in double figures as Tigers earned a national tournament win for the third straight season.

“We really had to work on defense and stop the drives,” Mathews said. “Offensively, we just want to be aggressive. Attack the basket and kick it out to our shooters when they’re open. I have to give props to my teammates for driving and kicking me the ball to me when I was open.”

Bray finished a team-high 14 points, while Osthus and Cheeseman each tallied 13 points and Ashley Bray had nine points.

DWU head coach Jason Christensen praised Mathews’ contributions and pointed out the entire Tigers’ bench outscored IU East’s bench 28-6.

“Our bench was huge,” said Christensen, whose team improved to 28-6 and will face either Southern Oregon at 1:45 p.m. on Friday. The Raiders won 77-66 late Wednesday over Antelope Valley (Calif.). 

“That’s what’s special about our team, you have to be ready to play no matter who is in the game. If I could start nine kids, I’d start nine kids right now.”  

In total, nine different players scored for the Tigers, who shot 53 percent from the field (28-of-53) and 94 percent from the free-throw line (16-of-17). IU East head coach Tiffani Selhorst said her team, which had two players foul out in the contest, got wore down by the Tigers.

“They’re a great team and we knew we’d have to play a near-perfect game to beat them,” Selhorst said. “We got into some foul trouble and that’s hard to fight back from, but I don’t want to take anything away from Dakota Wesleyan. I could see them making a pretty deep run in this tournament.”  

A 3-pointer by Sarah Carr gave DWU an early 7-4 lead, but after forcing a few DWU turnovers, IU East’s Tia King drilled a deep 3-pointer to make it a one-point game at 15-14. The Tigers started to pick up its defense after that and closed the opening frame on a 6-2 run to lead 21-16.

A floater by Osthus gave DWU its first 10-point lead of the game at 26-16 early in the second quarter. The Tigers continued to find their rhythm in the second period, going on a 13-2 run to lead 34-18, before the Red Wolves cut the lead down to 37-26 at halftime.  

DWU held a double-digit advantage throughout the second half, but IU East chipped the Tiger lead down to 10 points at 39-29 early in the third quarter. The Tigers quickly bumped the margin back up to 19 points and led 57-45 heading into the final period.

“We got up by 16 three different times,” Christensen said. “It started with our defense and then we got more aggressive with our rebounding as the game went on. We didn’t give them second and third tries.”

For the Red Wolves, King finished with a game-high 22 points on 7-of-20 shooting, while Mackenzie Campbell added 19 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Christensen noted IU East provided a good opening-round test for DWU.

“They kept coming at us and at us. Some teams, will win by 30, 40 points, but I’m not sure how much that helps you,” Christensen said. “I knew this team was going to give us a game. … This team averages 87 points and we held them to 62.”

Dakota Wesleyan 78, IU East 62

IU East (22-11): Mackenzie Campbell 8-18 1-2 19, Tia King 7-20 5-6 22, Da'Sha Boyd 0-1 2-2 2, Kristen Miller 1-7 2-3 4, Sarah Cook 3-6 0-0 6, Libby Springmier 2-8 1-2 5, Hannah Blakley 0-2 0-0 0, Haley Conway 0-1 0-0 0, Imani Reese 1-3 2-3 4, Amanda Nicholson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-66 13-18 62

DWU (28-6): Chesney Nagel 0-1 1-2 1, Amber Bray 5-10 3-3 14, Ashley Bray 4-10 0-0 9, Meghan Travis 0-0 0-0 0, Riley Osthus 4-5 5-5 13, Sam Schuh 0-0 0-0 0, Mikaela Stofferahn 0-2 0-0 0, Sarah Carr 2-5 0-0 5, Kynedi Cheeseman 3-6 7-7 13, Makaela Karst 1-1 0-0 2, Jessica Mieras 4-5 0-0 8, Mateya Walder 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Mathews 5-8 0-0 13, Kacey Bartscher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-53 16-17 78

IUE 16 26 45 62

DWU 21 37 57 78

Field goal pct: IU East .333, DWU .528. 3-pt FG: IUE 5-21 (Campbell 2-4, King 3-10, Boyd 0-1, Miller 0-2, Cook 0-2, Springmier 0-1, Blakley 0-1), DWU 6-22 (Bray 1-6, Bray 1-7, Carr 1-2, Cheeseman 0-2, Mathews 3-5). Rebounds: IUE 29 (Campbell 6, King 6), DWU 40 (Bray 7, Cheeseman 7). Fouls IUE 19, DWU 18. Fouled out: Campbell, Miller. Technical fouls: none. Assists: IU East 7 (King 4), DWU 23 (Osthus 10). Steals: IUE 10 (Campbell 4), DWU 6 (Bray 4). Blocked shots: IUE 1 (Conway 1), DWU 7 (Bray 2, Osthus 2, Mieras 2). Turnovers: IUE 15, DWU 21. Attendance: 1023.