DWU women to face California foe in the NAIA first round in Missouri

The NAIA debut for the Tigers comes on Tuesday, March 7 in Fayette, Missouri

020123 DWUWBB Matti Reiner Audrey Rodakowski.JPG
Dakota Wesleyan's Matti Reiner brings the ball up the court as Jamestown's Audrey Rodakowski defends during a Great Plains Athletic Conference women's basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 at the Corn Palace.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL -- The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team landed in the NAIA tournament bracket on Thursday night and will head to Missouri for the first two rounds of play.

The Tigers (22-8) were seeded eighth in the Naismith quadrant of the bracket and will face Hope International, of California, which was seeded ninth with a 24-7 record. The game will be played at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7 in Fayette, Missouri.

If DWU wins its first round game, they will face either top-seeded Central Methodist, which is hosting the four-team pod, and will take on Haskell Indian Nations, of Kansas, in the second game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The second-round will be played at 7 p.m. Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the 16-team final site.

The host Eagles are 31-0 and won the Heart of America Conference, while Haskell was the tournament runner-up in the Continental Athletic Conference to qualify for the tournament. Fayette is located about 580 miles from Mitchell, near Columbia, and halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis. CMU won four games in the 2022 national tournament, finishing in the NAIA national semifinals with a loss to eventual national champions Thomas More (Ky.)

It is the second consecutive appearance for the Tigers in the 64-team national tournament. A season ago, the Tigers were the four seed and defeated Saint Francis (Ind.), 69-58, in the first round in Omaha, followed by a 54-53 loss to Bethel (Tenn.) in the second round.


DWU was an at-large selection to the NAIA tournament, powered by a late six-game win streak and victories in nine of their final 11 games of the season. DWU reached the GPAC tournament semifinals before falling to No. 4-ranked Dordt, 75-74, in overtime. It is the 10th time in DWU history that the women's basketball team has appeared in the NAIA national tournament, with a 22-7 record all-time, including the 2018 NAIA Division II national championship.

Their first opponent, Hope International, qualified as the tournament champion in the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Royals have won their last six games and make 11 3-pointers a game, which ranks No. 2 in the nation.

The winners of each of the 16 sites will advance to the final site tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, which begins on Monday, March 13. The national championship game is on Saturday, March 18.

The Great Plains Athletic Conference earned seven spots in the bracket, with Dordt as the highest seed with a No. 2 spot in the Cramer Quadrant. Also in the bracket are Briar Cliff, Concordia (Neb.), Jamestown, Morningside and Northwestern.

In addition to Central Methodist, the other No. 1 seeds are Thomas More (Ky.), Campbellsville (Ky.) and Indiana Wesleyan.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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