ORANGE CITY, Iowa-A tight defensive game slipped away from the No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, as it was handed its first road loss of the season by No. 3 Northwestern College, 69-54.

The Tigers held a one-point lead at halftime, but Northwestern gained a five-point advantage heading into the final frame, before outscoring its guests by 11 to pull even atop the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings. DWU, Northwestern and Concordia University are tied atop the standings now with identical 12-2 league records.

The Red Raiders connected on 61.5 percent of their shots in the second half, while playing stout defense on an offense that was coming off a 98-point performance on Sunday. Meanwhile, DWU shot 35.7 percent for the game, including 2 of 17 from 3-point range, resulting in its lowest point total of the season.

The dynamic scoring tandem of Alexandria native Kynedi Cheeseman and Sarah Carr came into the game averaging 36.5 points per game on 51 percent shooting, but were held to a combined 8-for-36 in the game. Cheeseman, the GPAC's third leading scorer, was held without a made field goal and just two points, which came on a pair of free throws to give the Tigers the lead at halftime. Carr, the two-time reigning GPAC player of the week, went 2 of 5 for 10 points.

Conversely, DWU was able to the conference's second leading scorer, Kassidy De Jong, to just seven points, 12 below her season average. Northwestern still managed to place four players in double figures, as Haley Birks, Sammy Blum and Ethan native Darbi Gustafson posted 13 points apiece.

While the Tigers struggled to find its shooting stroke, Northwestern was able to gobble up defensive rebounds, preventing second-chance opportunities and finishing the game with an 11-rebound advantage on the boards.

Carr hit a triple in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to five, but the Tigers would not get any closer as Northwestern began to pull away down the stretch.

Rylie Osthus scored 12 points, while Madison Mathews and Sydney Halling (5 of 5 shooting off the bench) each had 11 for DWU.

Dakota Wesleyan (19-2, 12-2 GPAC) travels to No. 21 Hastings at 2 p.m. on Saturday in another GPAC tilt.

No. 3 Northwestern 69, No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan 54

Dakota Wesleyan (19-2, 12-2 GPAC): Makaela Karst 1-8 2-2 4, Rylie Osthus 5-16 2-2 12, Madison Mathews 5-10 0-0 11, Kynedi Cheeseman 0-7 2-2 2, Sarah Carr 2-5 5-6 10, Kaylee Kirk 2-5 0-0 4, Rebecca Buchholz 0-0 0-0 0, Kathryn Parsley 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Gottlob 0-0 0-0 0, Shannon O'Malley 0-0 0-0 0, Sydney Halling 5-5 1-2 11, Meghan Travis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 12-14 54.

Northwestern (12-2, 18-2 GPAC): Haley Birks 6-7 1-1 13, Darbi Gustafson 4-11 5-6 13, Breana Schuiteman 4-8 0-0 11, Sammy Blum 5-10 0-0 13, Kassidy De Jong 3-8 0-0 7, Marina Keck 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor VanderVelde 1-1 0-0 2, Brooke Hunwardsen 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Kiel 1-3 1-2 3, Alexis Toering 2-3 3-4 7, Devyn Kemble 0-0 0-0 0, Kailyn Groves 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-51 10-13 69.

DWU 14 29 44 54

NC 14 28 48 69

3-pointers: DWU 2-17 (Carr 1-1, Mathews 1-4, Kirk 0-1, Osthus 0-3, Cheeseman 0-4, Karst 0-4), NC 7-18 (Blum 3-6, Schuiteman 3-6, De Jong 1-5, Gustafson 0-1). Rebounds: DWU 26 (Cheeseman 5), NC 37 (De Jong 10). Assists: DWU 9 (Three players with 2), NC 16 (De Jong 6). Blocked shots: DWU 5 (Karst 3), NC 4 (Gustafson 2). Steals: DWU 8 (Kirk 4), NC 7 (Gustafson 2, Toering 2). Turnovers: DWU 11, NC, 15. Total fouls: DWU 12, NC 16.