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Tiger women rally from 13-point deficit but come up short to Dordt in final moments

DWU drops important GPAC contest to the Defenders

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Dakota Wesleyan University's Jada Campbell (44) goes to the basket as Dordt College's Ashtyn Veerbeek defends during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at the Corn Palace.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — Entering Wednesday night, the Dakota Wesleyan women’s basketball team was in a three-way tie with Dordt and Briar Cliff for third place in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, making the Tigers’ Wednesday home date with Dordt pivotal for postseason positioning as the regular season winds down.

DWU battled back from a 13-point halftime deficit to take a lead into the fourth quarter, but a potential game-winning 3-pointer missed its mark as Dordt escaped the Corn Palace with a 67-65 victory on Wednesday night.

The win was Dordt’s 10th straight, having not lost since the Tigers went to Sioux Center, Iowa, on Dec. 11 and knocked off the then-22nd-ranked Defenders on Dec. 11.

Early on, Dordt looked determined to not let the Tigers repeat their earlier feat, taking control of the game from the tip. Seven turnovers were all that limited the Defenders in the first quarter, as the visitors shot 9 of 10 from the field and 5 of 5 from 3-point range in the opening 10 minutes to take a 23-14 lead, paced by 10 points from Ashtyn Veerbeek.

Veerbeek, the Defenders’ leading scorer for the season, continued her offensive outburst by matching her per game average of 18 points in the first half. She connected on 7 of 8 field goals, including all four she attempted from 3-point range.

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Thrice in the half, the Defenders led by as many as 13, including after a layup in the final seconds by Ethan native Karly Gustafson put Dordt up 42-29 at the break.

But the third quarter belonged to the Tigers.

DWU cut the lead to six within the first two minutes of the third quarter and took a 50-49 lead — its first of the contest — with three minutes to play in the period, as Veerbeek’s shot attempts began to miss their mark. All told, the Tigers nearly matched their first-half scoring output in just the third quarter, scoring 26 points to take a 55-51 advantage into the fourth.

But Dordt pushed back, tying the game at 60 before taking a late lead at 64-62 with 4:02 remaining on what would turn out to be the Defenders' last made field goal.

Veerbeek fouled out with 1:57 remaining and the Defenders up 66-63, but DWU managed just one made field goal in the closing moments. The loss was the Tigers' fourth in seven games after a 14-2 start.

Jada Campbell led the Tigers with 16 points to go with six rebounds, while Kaylee Kirk notched 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Rynn Osthus added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Dordt (17-6, 10-5 GPAC) was paced by 26 points and eight rebounds and three assists from Veerbeek, with Bailey Beckman adding 14 points and four rebounds. Gustafson chipped in a game-high 10 rebounds to go with five points and three assists.

DWU (17-6, 9-6 GPAC) is away at Briar Cliff on Saturday, Jan. 29.

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