Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball overcomes slow first quarter to advance in GPAC tournament
The Tigers shot 53.8% over the final three quarters en route to a win over Northwestern College in the quarterfinals of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament.
MITCHELL — After a modest first quarter, the Dakota Wesleyan women’s basketball team poured it on.
The Tigers shot 53.8% over the final three quarters, pouring in 62 points en route to a 69-62 win over Northwestern College in the quarterfinals of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament.
It was a stark contrast from the first quarter, where the Tigers went 3-for-17 from the field and didn’t record their first points until there was 4:27 left in the frame.
“I told them, ‘Keep shooting. Keep shooting,’” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “I go, ‘They’re going to fall in. Keep shooting.’ … That was my adjustment in the first quarter.”
And they did fall, especially for Rylee Rosenquist, who was the spark for DWU.
The fearless freshman ignited the offense in the second quarter, racking up 12 points in the frame after scoring three of DWU’s seven points in the first quarter. She ended the first half with 15 points and wound up with 24 for the game, matching her season high on 7-for-11 shooting.
“She’s not afraid to get to the rim, she’s not afraid of anything,” Christensen said of Rosenquist. “The kid is just tough.”
She helped the Tigers erase an 11-7 deficit after the first quarter and turn it into a 31-27 advantage, as DWU tallied 24 second-quarter points as a team. The Tigers padded their lead heading into the fourth after outscoring Northwestern 20-15 in the third.
The Red Raiders brought it to within six multiple times in the fourth, but each time DWU fended off a potential run with what Christensen referred to as “big shots” down the stretch.
“We were hitting some big shots when we needed them. They made runs on us, we’d come back and hit a big shot,” he said.
Outside of Rosenquist, Matti Reiner scored 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting, and Morgan Edelman tacked on 12 points. DWU also won the rebounding battle, 42-31, had more points in the paint (32-26) and had more points off turnovers (16-13) despite turning the ball over 17 times to Northwestern’s 11.
For Northwestern, Maddie Jones, whom Christensen admitted got to the rim too much for his liking on his squad, had 25 points, Molly Schany had 20 and Emilee Danner picked up 12.
The win over Northwestern on Tuesday marked the third time this season the Tigers took down the Red Raiders in three chances. According to Christensen, it wasn’t necessarily a matchup advantage against the Red Raiders that led to a 3-0 mark against them. Rather, it was the Tigers' ability to close out games that showed up in all three contests.
“I think every game we just finished down the stretch because every game was close,” Christensen said. “(Tuesday) it was just a battle back and forth. … I don’t know if there’s anything we did special, just, we executed and found a way to win.”
DWU, winners of six games in a row, travels to Sioux Center, Iowa, to take on top-seeded Dordt in the semifinals of the GPAC tournament. The game is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.
“They’re a top-five team in the country, they’re national runner-up,” Christensen said of Dordt. “We have nothing to lose.”