Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball picks up fifth-straight win to close out regular season

After a 10-point lead at halftime, the Tigers found themselves down in the fourth quarter, but battled their way to a win over Concordia in Great Plains Athletic Conference action.

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Dakota Wesleyan's Jada Campbell goes up for a shot against Concordia's Kristin Vieselmeyer during an NAIA women's basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — Dakota Wesleyan women’s basketball showcased its mental toughness Saturday.

After a 10-point lead at halftime, the Tigers found themselves down in the fourth quarter but battled their way to a 61-54 win over Concordia in Great Plains Athletic Conference action at the Corn Palace.

The win was the epitome of what coach Jason Christensen preaches in his program, in a defensive, grind-it-out battle that came down to the wire.

“You put a Dakota Wesleyan shirt on, you better be mentally tough,” he said following the win. “We talk about that all the time and how important mental toughness is, especially this late in the year.”

Concordia took its first lead of the game with 4:25 to go in the fourth quarter, but DWU answered with an 8-0 run, with six of those points coming from Jada Campbell, to pull ahead 60-53. Campbell finished with eight points in the quarter alone and 22 for the game, as well as 10 rebounds.


Campbell’s eight-point first quarter helped the Tigers open up a 21-14 lead over Concordia, and by halftime the advantage swelled to 32-22 despite a stretch of 6:03 without a field goal for DWU. Even in the drought, the Tigers surrendered just four points during that span, holding the Bulldogs to eight points on 3-for-14 shooting in the entire second quarter.

“Defensively, we did a good job of understanding assignments,” Christensen said. “They’re very good offensively. … Coming into this game, (Concordia head coach Drew Olson) didn’t go off of what our scouting report said. I thought our kids listened real well in film and I think that was probably the difference.”

Getting the ball to the rim was a key for the DWU offense, which struggled to hit shots from outside Saturday, going 3-for-19 from 3-point range as a team. Christensen said the Tigers were getting good looks but they just weren’t falling, and that getting to the free-throw line was a help for his squad.

“When you can’t make shots, you got to get the ball to the rim,” Christensen said. “I thought that’s what we did really well, I thought our kids got to the rim. We shot 22 free throws to their 13. That’s probably the game right there.”

Elsewhere for DWU, Matti Reiner picked up 15 points, while Morgan Edelman tallied 11, as well as nine rebounds.

Kendal Brigham led Concordia (18-10, 14-8 GPAC) in scoring with 15 points off the bench. Abby Krieser and Mackenzie Toomey scored 12 and 11, respectively, for the Bulldogs, who shot 35.1% (20 of 57) from the field and 28.6% (6 of 21) from 3-point range as a team.

DWU (21-7, 15-7 GPAC) is the No. 4 seed in the GPAC tournament and hosts No. 5 Northwestern on Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the first round. The Tigers swept the season series against the Red Raiders.

With the focus now shifting to the GPAC tournament for DWU, Christensen said there are things he’d like to see his team clean up, but that closing the season out on a five-game winning streak and having the chance to host a first-round matchup have boosted the confidence of his squad.


“We got to keep building,” Christensen said. “I tell our kids, ‘You can’t be satisfied.’”

Zech Lambert is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He graduated from Penn State University in May 2022 and began at the Mitchell Republic in July 2022. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Zech_Lambert.
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