Dakota Wesleyan University’s comeback bid ended on a blocked 3-pointer, but its struggles stemmed from the paint in its 63-58 loss to Northwestern (Iowa).

Even in a game they shot 3-for-21 from deep, the No. 13 Tigers’ post game was a glaring hole on Wednesday at the Corn Palace.

Their entry passes were batted away at times and open looks at the rim weren’t guaranteed baskets. DWU (20-9, 13-8) looked for fouls which never came, as it shot 33.3 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from inside the arc in the Great Plains Athletic Conference contest.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well at all, but we can’t miss (that many) shots in the paint,” said DWU coach Jason Christensen, who added he felt it was the best officiated game of the season. “I just thought we were soft in the paint.”

DWU shot 28 percent after the first quarter, but it had a chance to tie the game at the end. Trailing 61-58 with 20.5 seconds to play, DWU swung passes around the perimeter before Alexandria native Kynedi Cheeseman, who acted as a decoy on the play, hit Sarah Carr in the corner.

With Plankinton native and the play’s second option Makaela Karst covered on the slip screen, Carr shot the corner 3. Bre Schuiteman recorded Northwestern’s (17-9, 12-9) third block of the game, as she proceeded to sink a pair of free throws to ice the game.

“I wanted to make sure we got the ball to a shooter,” Christensen said. “... I wanted the ball in Kynedi’s hands. I told her, ‘If you got a lane, take it. If you don’t, look for Carr in the corner.’ ”

Carr finished with 11 points on 15 shots to go with five rebounds and four assists, while Cheeseman took 19 shots for her 17 points. Cheeseman also grabbed six boards.

Poor shooting went both ways, though. Northwestern shot 38.6 percent from the field, with both teams combining to shoot 35.8 percent. Christensen chalked it up to softness in the paint, especially after the Tigers shot 58.1 percent in a January win over Northwestern.

Sammy Blum was the exception on Wednesday, as she went 6-for-6 from 3 for a game-high 23 points for the Red Raiders. She nailed a trio of 3s in the first quarter to keep Northwestern close, 19-17, and added two more in the second as the Red Raiders took a 33-28 lead into the break.

“We needed to do a better job of probably chasing her off the line,” Christensen said. “But she was big time tonight.”

Northwestern’s lead could’ve been more, if not for DWU’s defense. The Tigers were held to two points in the final 5:26 of the first half, but Northwestern could only build a five-point lead. Schuiteman scored 12 points, but no other Red Raiders reached double-figures. They shot 3-for-15 from beyond the arc, excluding Blum’s hot shooting.

“Defense was great tonight,” Christensen said. “... The only thing that sticks out is they hit some 3s and we didn’t finish in the paint.”

Jessica Mieras added 10 points, while Rynn Osthus grabbed six rebounds off the bench. Karst recorded nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Kaylee Kirk scored seven points.

DWU ends the regular season at Hastings (Neb.) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Northwestern (Iowa) 63, No. 13 Dakota Wesleyan University 58

Northwestern (17-9, 12-9): Bre Schuiteman 3-6 4-4 12, Taylor VanderVelde 2-6 2-2 6, Sammy Blum 8-12 1-2 23, Alexis Toering 3-11 2-2 8, Devyn Kemble 1-4 0-0 3, Emilee Danner 4-12 0-1 8, Jada Cunningham 1-6 1-2 3, Maddie Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Nerem 0-0 0-0 0. Team totals: 22-57 10-13 63.

Dakota Wesleyan (20-9, 13-8): Kaylee Kirk 3-5 0-0 7, Makaela Karst 2-7 5-5 9, Kynedi Cheeseman 6-19 4-4 17, Sarah Carr 5-15 0-0 11, Jessica Mieras 4-5 2-2 10, Rynn Osthus 1-9 0-0 2, Kamryn Heinz 1-4 0-0 2, Matti Reiner 0-2 0-0 0. Team totals: 22-66 11-11 58.

NW 17 33 45 63

DWU 19 28 41 58

3-pointers: NW 9-21 (Blum 6-6, Schuiteman 2-4, Kemble 1-4, Danner 0-6, Toering 0-1); DWU 3-21 (Kirk 1-2, Cheeseman 1-8, Carr 1-4, Karst 0-2, Osthus 0-3, Heinz 0-1, Reiner 0-1). Rebounds: NW 39 (Blum 7, Danner 7); DWU 39 (Karst 8, Osthus 6). Assists: NW 14 (VanderVelde 5); DWU 10 (Carr 4). Blocked shots: NW 3 (Danner 2); DWU 5 (Karst 3). Steals: NW 8 (Blum 3, Toering 3); DWU 8 (Kirk 2, Karst 2, Osthus 2). Turnovers: NW 16; DWU 13. Fouls: NW 14; DWU 12.