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Bulldogs shoot their way past Tigers: DWU women suffer first loss of season

Fans from both teams yelled at every call, made shot and turnover Saturday at the Corn Palace, but none topped the screams of No. 3 Concordia University when coach Drew Olson walked in the locker room following its 82-68 win over No. 1 Dakota Wes...

Dakota Wesleyan University's Madison Mathews tries to drive past Concordia University's Elsie Aslesen during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game Saturday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan University's Madison Mathews tries to drive past Concordia University's Elsie Aslesen during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game Saturday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Fans from both teams yelled at every call, made shot and turnover Saturday at the Corn Palace, but none topped the screams of No. 3 Concordia University when coach Drew Olson walked in the locker room following its 82-68 win over No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan University.

“Our kids were excited with how they played,” Olson said. “We knew going in both teams are very good basketball teams and it would come down to who played the hardest. I felt like both teams played really well.”

Both Olson and DWU women’s coach Jason Christensen knew their teams needed to put together a complete game to come away with a Great Plains Athletic Conference win, making DWU’s (13-1, 8-1 GPAC) poor second quarter, which highlighted its struggles from beyond the arc, its kryptonite.

The Tigers shot 33.3 percent from the field in the second frame, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Concordia made 6 of 9 treys to shoot 52.4 percent, erasing a 23-16 first-quarter deficit to take a 44-37 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs (12-1, 8-1 GPAC) only outscored the Tigers by two and five in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, but their strong 3-point shooting kept DWU from mounting a comeback. Concordia shot 42.4 percent from deep, while DWU only made 2 of 18, with its first made 3 coming from Alexandria native Kynedi Cheeseman, who recorded 17 points and nine rebounds, with 5:02 left in the third quarter.
“The difference in the game is them making the 3-point shot and we didn’t make many,” Christensen said, adding he felt his defense played well despite Concordia’s success from deep.

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No one had more success from beyond the arc than Taylor Cockerill. Olson said, “when her head’s in the right spot, she’s a stud player,” and that showed with her making four 3s en route to a 19-point game for the Bulldogs.

Although, arguably none of her 3s were bigger than with 2:32 left in the game when she rose up and sank a 3 to extend Concordia’s lead to 72-63 as part of a 10-1 run, which came after the Tigers cut its lead to five for the first time in the quarter.

Grace Barry also scored 19 for the Bulldogs, while Philly Lammers was a problem down low as she posted 10 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks and four steals.

Despite DWU suffering its first loss of the season, Christensen didn’t feel like his team was outplayed. That’s in part due to DWU’s ball security helping it beat Concordia’s tough press and lead to easy baskets, especially early. After four turnovers in the first four minutes, DWU turned it over just 10 times in the final 36 minutes against a Concordia team which averaged 35.1 takeaways per contest coming into Saturday.

“I thought we handled their press better than any team in the nation that’s played them so far,” Christensen said.

Sarah Carr’s leakout layups played a big part, with her scoring eight of her team-high 19 points in the first quarter. She shot 7-for-15 from the field and also pulled down five boards.

“(Carr’s) such a tough player, great athlete,” Olson said. “I think (she) was part of our press issues, but I also thought she did a lot of really good dirty work down low. Just really outmuscled us to get layups.”

Rylie Osthus (11) and Madison Mathews (10) also scored in double-figures. Osthus also dished out eight assists, Mathews grabbed seven rebounds and Plankinton native Makaela Karst grabbed six boards.

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“I told them I loved them. That’s the first thing,” Christensen said. “We came out and played hard. … I don’t think we played bad, I don’t think Concordia played bad. I think it was a great game.”

The Tigers play Keiser University in the West Palm Invite at noon Wednesday in West Palm, Florida.

Note: Christensen received a technical foul in the third quarter.

No. 3 Concordia 82, No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan 68

Concordia (12-1): Grace Barry 7-14 4-4 19, Taylor Cockerill 6-9 3-4 19, Philly Lammers 5-11 0-0 10, Quinn Wragge 3-8 0-1 7, Riley Sibbel 2-7 0-0 6, Mackenzie Koepke 2-6 0-0 6, Taryn Schuettee 2-4 0-0 5, Mackenzie Helman 1-7 1-2 4, Colby Duvel 1-4 0-0 3, Elsie Aslesen 1-4 0-0 3.

Dakota Wesleyan (13-1): Sarah Carr 7-15 4-4 19, Kynedi Cheeseman 5-14 6-7 17, Rylie Osthus 5-10 1-2 11, Madison Mathews 5-10 0-0 10, Makaela Karst 3-9 0-0 6, Sydney halling 2-9 1-1 5, Kaylee Kirk 0-3 0-0 0.

C 16 44 63 82

DWU 23 37 54 68

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3-point field goals: C 14-33 (Cockerill 4-6, Sibbel 2-6, Koepke 2-5); DWU 2-18 (Cheeseman 1-5, Carr 1-2). Rebounds: C 41 (Lammers 13, Cockerill 5, Wragge 5); DWU 34 (Cheeseman 9, Mathews 7, Karst 6, Carr 5). Assists: C 14 (Barry 4, Sibbel 3m Helman 3); DWU 14 (Osthus 8, Mathews 3). Blocks: C 7 (Lammers 6); DWU 5 (Osthus 2, Karst 2). Steals: C 9 (Lammers 4, Barry 4); DWU 5 (Karst 3). Turnovers: C 8, DWU 14. Total fouls: C 18, DWU 12.

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