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Carr carries DWU women past Mustangs

Sarah Carr said Wednesday was her best game of the season, and the No. 4 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team needed every bit of it. Led by Carr's massive double-double, the Tigers pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat No. 19 M...

Dakota Wesleyan University's Sarah Carr (40) dribbles past Morningside College's Sydney Hupp (12) to the basket during a game in the first round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan University's Sarah Carr (40) dribbles past Morningside College's Sydney Hupp (12) to the basket during a game in the first round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Sarah Carr said Wednesday was her best game of the season, and the No. 4 Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team needed every bit of it.

Led by Carr’s massive double-double, the Tigers pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat No. 19 Morningside College, 88-75, at the Corn Palace in the first round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament. The Tigers will face No. 2 Northwestern College in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Saturday in Orange City, Iowa.

“My teammates were giving me the open shots,” said Carr, who finished with 37 points and 13 rebounds. “They were making the passes and I was feeling it (Wednesday), so I was finishing.”

Carr’s 37 points came on an efficient 14-for-26 day from the field and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. She found success with her post moves, but she lived off exploiting the extra attention Morningside’s (19-12) press put on DWU’s (27-14) guards by leaking behind it for open layups.

“Sarah’s struggled the last three games, so I expected it,” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “She’s been grabbing (assistant coach) Tom Hoek and doing extra workouts in the gym.”

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While the Mustangs often forgot about Carr streaking down the sideline, their five-man substitutions kept a rested lineup on the floor to wreak havoc by tipping passes and trapping every time a Tiger held onto the ball.

“They did a really good job getting after us, getting two on the ball and getting tipped basketballs,” Christensen said. “I know we control those turnovers, but their defense was really good (Wednesday).”

The Mustangs forced 25 turnovers and held DWU to 41.4 percent shooting, with Skyler Snider, Kailey Burke and Grace Meyer all recording three steals.

To counter the traps and constant ball pressure, the Tigers tried to run often.

“We wanted to push the ball,” Carr said. “We didn’t want to stop because if we stopped, three people would come on the ball and it would lead to a turnover.”

Morningside wasn’t without its own miscues, though. DWU had 22 takeaways, too, and held the Mustangs to 33.8 percent shooting. It also put an emphasis on stopping Morningside’s leading scorer, Sierra Mitchell, holding her to 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting.

However, the Mustangs made 12 3-pointers to help it stay in the game. They made a pair during an 11-0 run to open the second quarter, though still trailed 36-34 at the half. And it nailed three more in the final 51 seconds of the third quarter to keep DWU from pulling away, tying the game 59-all heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter was DWU’s, though. Rylie Osthus and Alexandria native Kynedi Cheeseman hit back-to-back 3s during an 8-0 run to open the fourth. Osthus finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

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“We went to a little bit different offensive scheme (in the fourth),” Christensen said. “We overloaded with four instead of three and it just seemed to work out better. We were able to get some better looks.”

The Tigers lived at the line the rest of the quarter. They made 17 of 18 free throws, including Carr going a perfect 8-for-8 to score 10 points in the quarter. Plankinton native Makaela Karst added eight of her 10 points, helping DWU finish 26-for-29 at the line. Kaylee Kirk had six points, seven rebounds and only turned it over twice in 27 minutes.

“We knew going into this game, this is what it was going to be,” Christensen said. “... (Morningside) played well. They knocked some 3s down, got us to turn it over, and they came into our house and played real well.”

No. 4 Dakota Wesleyan University 88, No. 19 Morningside College 75

Morningside (19-12): Sierra Mitchell 6-16 0-0 15, Kailey Burke 4-11 2-4 13, Sydney Hupp 4-8 2-2 11, Skyler Snider 3-12 3-4 9, Jordyn Moser 3-9 0-0 7, Faith Meyer 2-4 0-0 6, Tayte Hansen 1-2 2-2 4, Alexandra Gill 2-7 0-0 4, Mady Maly 1-4 0-0 3, Taylor Rodenburgh 1-4 0-0 3, Grace Meyer 0-1 0-0 0, Haleigh Melstad 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Dreiling 0-0 0-0 0, Sophia Peppers 0-2 0-0 0. Team totals: 27-80 9-12 75.

Dakota Wesleyan (27-4): Sarah Carr 14-26 9-10 37, Rylie Osthus 5-12 5-6 18, Makaela Karst 3-6 4-4 10, Kynedi Cheeseman 2-10 2-3 7, Madison Mathews 1-3 4-4 6, Kaylee Kirk 2-7 2-2 6, Sydney Halling 2-5 0-0 4, Meghan Travis 0-1 0-0 0. Team totals: 29-70 26-29 88.

M 18 34 59 75

DWU 22 36 59 88

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3-pointers: M 12-35 (Mitchell 3-9, Burke 3-7, F. Meyer 2-3, Hupp 1-3, Maly 1-1, Rodenburgh 1-3, Moser 1-5, Snider 0-3, Peppers 0-1); DWU 4-16 (Osthus 3-5, Cheeseman 1-5, Carr 0-3, Kirk 0-2, Halling 0-1). Rebounds: M 38 (Hupp 7, Snider 6); DWU 46 (Carr 13, Osthus 7, Kirk 7). Assists: M 11 (Moser 3); DWU 17 (Mathews 6). Steals: M 17 (Burke 3, Snider 3, G. Meyer 3); DWU 12 (Osthus 4, Karst 3). Blocked shots: M 9 (Snider 5); DWU 4 (Osthus 1, Mathews 1, Karst 1, Carr 1). Turnovers: M 22, DWU 25. Total fouls: M 24, DWU 10.

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