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Competition to fuel DWU women's offseason

It won't be a quiet offseason for the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team. Fresh off a national championship, the Tigers will say goodbye to three seniors and three starters in Amber and Ashley Bray as well as Chesney Nagel. "Losin...

Dakota Wesleyan's Sarah Carr (40) fights her way to the basket as Saint Xavier University's Kara Krolicki (22) and Chanel Fanter (12) defend during a game in the semifinals of the NAIA Division II National Tournament on Monday at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan's Sarah Carr (40) fights her way to the basket as Saint Xavier University's Kara Krolicki (22) and Chanel Fanter (12) defend during a game in the semifinals of the NAIA Division II National Tournament on Monday at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. (Matt Gade / Republic)

It won't be a quiet offseason for the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team.

Fresh off a national championship, the Tigers will say goodbye to three seniors and three starters in Amber and Ashley Bray as well as Chesney Nagel.

"Losing them is going to be tough," DWU head coach Jason Christensen said. "I think we have kids that can step up in those roles. They just haven't had a chance to go out and perform."

Christensen specifically pointed to three sophomores-Sarah Carr, Makaela Karst and Mikaela Stofferahn-as players that will see minutes and production increase. Carr has seen plenty of action her first two seasons coming off the bench for DWU, while Karst emerged as bench contributor this season as well.

And all of the returning Tigers have seen what it takes to end a season on top.

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"Hard work pays off," Christensen said. "Also our defensive mindset, I think our kids have really bought into that."

The Tigers averaged 80.4 points per game and held opponents to 59.2 points per game in 38 games. Starters Rylie Osthus (10.2 points and 5.5 assists per game) and Kynedi Cheeseman (14.9 points per game) both return, as will contributors Jessica Mieras (7.7 points per game) and Madison Mathews (3.5 points per game). As for the three open starting roles, Christensen said the Tigers will push each other to earn a spot.

"It'll be competitive and it'll be wide open," Christensen said. "We have a lot of returners and a lot of freshmen coming in. Our kids will get after it and we'll see how it shakes out when the season starts."

Christensen added every returning Tiger will be living in Mitchell over the summer.

"I'm excited about that. They can work with the strength and conditioning coaches," Christensen said.

Christensen didn't rule out the possibility of a few transfers joining the Tigers next year. But he added his team knows what to expect in the offseason.

"We'll keep our program competitive and the kids know that. That's how the real world is," Christensen said. "I tell the kids all the time you can learn a lot through basketball how the real world works. It's a competitive world out there and my program will always be that way too."

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
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