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No. 5 Tiger women fall at No. 1 Concordia

SEWARD, Neb.—A battle between two of the nation's top teams was closely fought through three quarters Saturday, but No. 1-ranked Concordia (Neb.) University pulled away from the fifth-ranked Dakota Wesleyan University women 79-66 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference basketball showdown at Walz Arena.

After holding a three-point halftime lead, the visiting Tigers trailed by five to start the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer from DWU's Makaela Karst and a basket from Sydney Halling helped the Tigers trim the Concordia advantage to 65-63 with 8:16 remaining in the game. But from there, DWU was outscored 14-3, and went more than 6 minutes without a made field goal, allowing the home Bulldogs to rebuild the lead and the winning margin.

Karst, a Plankinton native, scored a career-high 23 points and posted six rebounds. She scored 14 of those points on a 6-for-8 first half shooting, as the Tigers shot 48 percent as a team the first 20 minutes. But DWU cooled off on the shooting front, shooting 37 percent in the second half and finishing 4-for-18 on 3-pointers, and DWU was hurt by committing 20 turnovers in the loss against Concordia's pressure defense.

In addition to Karst's big day, Kynedi Cheeseman scored 17 points for DWU, and Rylie Osthus had 10 points for the Tigers, who were playing their fourth game in eight days on Saturday.

Taylor Cockerill scored 19 points for the Bulldogs, while Philly Lammers had 18 points and Quinn Wragge added 16 points. Concordia was 5-for-26 on 3-pointers in the game, but made 20 of 24 free-throw tries.

In the battle for the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season championship, the win gives the Bulldogs (25-3) a leg up. They are tied with No. 2-ranked Northwestern at 17-3 in league play, with each team facing two more GPAC games. DWU (24-4, 17-4 GPAC) plays one more conference game—the home finale Feb. 16 against Doane (Neb.)—but would need a loss from both the Bulldogs and Red Raiders to claim a share of the conference lead.

The win Saturday means Concordia swept the season series with DWU, dealing the Tigers' only home loss of the season on Dec. 15 in an 82-68 decision at the Corn Palace. The two teams played for the 2018 NAIA Division II national championship, with DWU claiming its first national title.

DWU will play its final non-conference game of the regular season at Valley City State (N.D.) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Concordia (Neb.) 79, DWU women 66

Dakota Wesleyan (24-4, 17-4 GPAC): Makaela Karst 9-12 4-4 23 Rylie Osthus 5-8 0-0 10 Madison Mathews 0-4 0-0 0 Kynedi Cheeseman 6-15 3-3 17 Sarah Carr 2-9 0-0 5 Sam Schuh 1-2 0-0 2 Kaylee Kirk 0-4 1-2 1 Sydney Halling 3-5 0-0 6 Meghan Travis 0-2 2-2 2 Totals 26-61 10-11 66.

Concordia (Neb.) (25-3, 17-3 GPAC): Quinn Wragge 5-9 5-6 16 Philly Lammers 5-11 8-8 18 Riley Sibbel 1-5 0-0 2 Taylor Cockerill 5-13 7-10 19 Grace Berry 4-9 0-0 8 MacKenzie Helman 0-3 0-0 0 Mackenzie Koepke 2-6 1-5 5 Colby Duvel 3-4 0-0 6 Taryn Schuette 1-4 0-0 3 Elsie Aslesen 1-3 0-0 2 Totals 27-67 20-24 79

DWU 20 38 56 66

CUNE 20 35 61 79

3-pointers: DWU 4-18 (Cheeseman 2-5, Karst 1-2, Carr 1-3, Mathews 0-3, Kirk 0-2, Schuh 0-1, Halling 0-1, Travis 0-1), CUNE 5-26 (Cockerill 2-8, Wragge 1-2, Koepke 1-5, Schuette 1-3, Sibbel 0-3, Helman 0-2, Barry 0-1, Lammers 0-1, Aslesen 0-1). Rebounds-offensive: DWU 39-10 (Carr 8), CUNE 37-13 (Wragge 10). Total fouls: DWU 21, CUNE 15. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none. Assists: DWU 13 (Cheeseman 4), CUNE 9 (Barry 4). Turnovers: DWU 20, CUNE 7. Blocks: DWU 2 (Karst, Carr), CUNE 5 (Koepke 2). Steals: DWU 3 (Osthus, Mathews, Halling), CUNE 14 (Lammers 3, Barry 3).

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