Dakota Wesleyan University started slow and finished fast.

The No. 7 Tigers shook off a sluggish start on Saturday at the Corn Palace, taking down Midland (Neb.) for their first Great Plains Athletic Conference win of the season, 71-48.

“I didn’t think we were ready to play in the first half,” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “I thought we played a really good second half on both ends of the floor -- offensively and defensively.”

The Warriors (3-4, 0-2 GPAC) scored five points in the first 1 minute, 30 seconds, prompting Christensen to take an early timeout. While DWU’s (4-1, 1-1) offense continued to struggle in the first half, its defense started to click.

The Tigers held the Warriors to under 50 points on 28.8 percent shooting and 6-for-27 3-point shooting. DWU also recorded 17 takeaways, including Rynn Osthus having three steals in her bench-high 19 minutes.

Amanda Hansen was the only Warrior to score in double figures with 15 points.

“We didn’t come out right away like we should’ve,” said Jessica Mieras, who had two blocks and a steal. “We regrouped and came out stronger. It’s just a big thing for us -- our defense -- so we really keyed in on that.”

While DWU’s defense held Midland to nine second-quarter points and to 15 or fewer in every quarter, it tried to use its evident size advantage on the other end.

The Tigers got to the basket, but missed layups and turnovers prevented them from putting away Midland before the break. Sloppy first-half play led to travels in the post, with eight of their 15 turnovers coming in the first 20 minutes.

“I think we missed too many bunnies,” Christensen said. “... We shouldn’t turn it over 15 times against Midland. We should be around eight to 10 against those guys.”

Alexandria native Kynedi Cheeseman kept DWU afloat early, scoring eight of its first 10 points. She scored 14 of her game-high 27 in the first half, as she got the basket the entire game. Her 10-for-14 shooting helped the Tigers shoot 60.5 percent from 2-point range.

The Tigers attempted a season-low 11 3-pointers, but their ball movement led to easy looks at the rim. DWU assisted on 20 of its 28 makes, including on 12 of 15 in the second half.

“I thought everyone did a very good job getting to the rim,” Cheeseman said. “Everyone had open looks. I thought we shared the ball really well the second half.”

The Tigers broke open the game in the third quarter. They held Midland scoreless for the final 4:09, prompting a 9-0 run.

Mieras also added 12 points, though missed a couple of open layups. Plankinton native Makaela Karst finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists on 5-for-7 shooting. Kaylee Kirk grabbed six rebounds, too.

“We just have to come out hungry right away when the game starts,” Cheeseman said. “We kind of had a slow start, but the second half we worked on executing our offense and we had success at the end.”

DWU travels to Jamestown at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Jamestown, North Dakota.

No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan University 71, Midland University 48

Midland University (3-4, 0-2): Makenna Sullivan 2-8 0-0 4, Maddie Meadows 2-4 0-0 5, Lexi Kraft 1-7 2-2 5, Amanda Hansen 5-7 3-5 15, Katy Kathje 1-4 1-2 3, Casey Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Wingert 1-6 0-0 3, Emma Shepard 0-1 0-0 0, Jada Simpson 0-0 0-0 0, Lexis Haase 2-8 0-0 4, Sam Shepard 1-5 0-0 3, Erin Prusa 2-6 0-0 4, Laura Speer 0-3 2-2 2. Team totals: 17-59 8-11 48.

Dakota Wesleyan University (4-1, 1-1): Kaylee Kirk 1-2 0-0 2, Makaela Karst 5-7 0-0 10, Kynedi Cheeseman 10-14 7-7 27, Sarah Carr 2-5 0-0 4, Jessica Mieras 5-10 2-2 12, Kelsey Valencia 0-0 2-2 2, Rynn Osthus 1-4 2-3 4, Lexi Valencia 0-0 0-0 0, Haylee Mork 1-1 0-0 3, Kamryn Heinz 1-3 0-0 2, Matti Reiner 2-5 0-0 5, Sydnaya Dunn 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Imbery 0-1 0-0 0, Megan Poyer 0-2 0-0 0. Team totals: 28-54 13-14 71.

MU 13 22 33 48

DWU 17 32 53 71

3-pointers: MU 6-27 (Meadows 1-3, Kraft 1-6, Hansen 2-3, Wingert 1-5, Shepard 0-1, Haase 0-3, Shepard 1-4, Speer 0-2); DWU 2-11 (Reiner 1-1, Mork 1-1, Cheeseman 0-3, Karst 0-1, Carr 0-1, Osthus 0-2, Imbery 0-1, Poyer 0-1). Rebounds: MU 27 (Haase 5, Sullivan 4, Hansen 4); DWU 31 (Karst 8, Kirk 6). Assists: MU 9 (Sullivan 2, Kraft 2); DWU 20 (Karst 6, Carr 4, Cheeseman 3). Blocked shots: MU 2 (Meadows 1, Speer 1); DWU 2 (Mieras 2). Steals: MU 6 (Hansen 2, Haase 2); DWU 7 (Osthus 3). Turnovers: MU 17; DWU 15. Total fouls: MU 16, DWU 15. A: 1,786.