Rylee Rosenquist sparks Dakota Wesleyan women’s basketball in comeback win over Morningside
The Tigers trailed by 11 entering the fourth quarter but rallied to take their first lead of the game with just over a minute to play in the win.
MITCHELL — Down 11 points entering the fourth quarter, the Dakota Wesleyan women’s basketball team was on the way to a third defeat in its last four home games.
But in the last 10 minutes, the contest turned on its head.
Spurred by the two-way contributions of freshman guard Rylee Rosenquist off the bench, the Tigers charged back into the contest, taking their first lead with just over a minute to play and downing Morningside, 68-65, in Great Plains Athletic Conference action on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace.
While the Tigers’ defense played its best 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, the most notable adjustment that allowed DWU (20-7, 14-7 GPAC) to outscore Morningside (16-11, 11-10 GPAC) 21-7 down the stretch came on the offensive end, according to head coach Jason Christensen.
“We just couldn’t get any flow tonight, so we went to all half-court sets in that fourth quarter and I thought we executed well,” Christensen said. “... I know a lot of people think I’m crazy because I have a million sets, but this is the reason you do it, right here.”
The decision resulted in the Tigers’ 20th win of the season, the eighth time the program has reached that threshold under Christensen’s watch and the seventh time in the past eight seasons.
Early on, it looked as though the Mustangs were going to make DWU wait for win No. 20. Aided by a 7-0 spurt to start, Morningside led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter and pulled out to a 23-13 lead.
The Mustangs’ edge was 32-21 midway through the second quarter before the Tigers closed the half on a 13-3 run to pull within 35-34 at the break.
But the third quarter shared many similarities with the first, with a 10-0 burst to start the quarter creating another cushion for the visitors that stood at 58-47 entering the final 10 minutes.
However, it didn’t take long for the Tigers to get back in it, slashing the deficit down to a single possession at 58-55 with 6:22 to play. Four minutes later, Matti Reiner tied the game for the first time since 0-0 at 63-all. Rosenquist gave DWU its first lead with 70 seconds remaining and Isabel Ihnen pushed the lead to four points — two possessions — with just 10.9 seconds showing on the clock to help secure the win.
All told, Rosenquist had 10 points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist in the fourth quarter alone, providing a critical boost when not much else was going as planned for the Tigers.
“You talk about a gamer,” Christensen said of Rosenquist. “I’m pretty proud of that kid. She’s going through a lot right now and I really thought she put the team on her shoulders in the fourth quarter and did a lot of good things for us.”
For the game, Rosenquist had 18 points and five rebounds alongside 18 points, six rebounds and three assists from Reiner. Jada Campbell put up 11 points and seven rebounds with Ihnen scoring 10 points. Morgan Edelman chipped in five points, six rebounds and five assists.
Morningside got 14 points apiece from Sophia Peppers and McKenna Sims, with Peppers grabbing six rebounds and Sims dishing out five assists. Chloe Lofstrom added 12 points and six rebounds, while Alexis Spier had nine points, five rebounds and five assists.
With the DWU win and a loss by Concordia to Briar Cliff on Wednesday night, the Tigers are set to host the Bulldogs on Saturday in the GPAC regular-season finale with the No. 4 seed in the GPAC tournament on the line. DWU, Concordia and Northwestern are all tied at 14-7 in the conference, but the Tigers would lock up a quarterfinal home game with a win on Saturday, the significance of which is certainly not lost on Christensen.
“It’d be huge (to play at home in the GPAC quarterfinals),” Christensen said. “Whatever we get, we get and we’ll go from there, but that’s a long trip and I’d rather be at the Corn Palace.”