DWU women's national run ends with one-point loss to Bethel
Tigers' season ends at 27-8
OMAHA, Neb. — Dakota Wesleyan’s national tournament run came up a few points short on Saturday.
The Tigers battled stops and starts on the offensive end against a defensively minded Bethel (Tenn.) squad that clamped down over the final three quarters and held tough in the final 30 seconds, denying DWU two shots to potentially win an NAIA second-round contest that ended 54-53 in favor of the No. 12 WIldcats at Sokol Arena in Omaha.
DWU’s season ends at 27-8. Bethel (21-13) advances to take on top-seeded Southeastern (Fla.), which survived an upset bid from Rust (Miss.) in a 66-62 win. That game will be at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 in Sioux City, Iowa, where the final four rounds of the NAIA tournament will take place between March 17-22.
The game was defined by two long field-goal droughts for the Tigers, both after DWU had built its largest leads of each half. DWU led by 12 at the end of the first quarter and by nine early in the second period when it fell into a 12 1/2-minute scoring drought that allowed Bethel to lead by the end of the half and go up eight by the midpoint of the third quarter. Jada Campbell helped the Tigers rally as part of her big night, scoring a game-high 20 points, including six in a row late in the third quarter.
When DWU answered to go ahead early in the fourth quarter, including three straight baskets again from Campbell and a pair of free throws from Matti Reiner to lead 51-46 with 5:46 remaining, DWU went cold again, with more than 6 minutes without a field goal as Bethel put together a 8-0 run and took the lead for good with 3:27 remaining on a Ryann Roberts 3-pointer.
DWU’s offense was delivered by two forwards in the game, with Campbell scoring 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds. Reiner had 18 points for DWU, which had 15 points from the rest of the roster, including five points from Aspen Hansen.
DWU finished shooting 34.5% from the field but was 11-for-42 shooting over the final three quarters, or 26%. DWU was 2-for-14 on 3-pointers and 11-for-12 on free throws.
Bethel shot 39.6% in the game, with 14 points from Ryann Roberts and 10 from Keely Morrow. Mickey Head, the Wildcats’ 6-foot-1 center, had five blocks in the game.