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DWU women step up in crunch time to prevail over Hastings

For the majority of Saturday's contest against Hastings College, Dakota Wesleyan head coach Jason Christensen wasn't happy with his team's performance.

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Dakota Wesleyan's Rylie Osthus (10) drives to the basket at a college basketball game on Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)

For the majority of Saturday's contest against Hastings College, Dakota Wesleyan head coach Jason Christensen wasn't happy with his team's performance.

"We did not play a very smart game today," DWU head coach Jason Christensen said. "We had 10 turnovers in the first half and ended up with 15. I just think we didn't go inside enough and I think we got away from our game a little bit."

But he said the last two minutes couldn't have been executed any better, which was enough for a 70-67 win over the Broncos at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. With the victory, the Tigers (23-7, 15-7 GPAC) will be the No. 3 seed in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament and have a rematch with Hastings (19-10, 13-9) in the first round on Wednesday in Mitchell.

"Our last two minutes couldn't have been any more perfect," Christensen said. "We had energy, we had focus and we did everything right. When we needed to, we found a way to win, and that's what you need to do in this conference."

After Rachel Jelden gave Hastings a 63-61 lead with just under 2 minutes remaining, DWU forward Amber Bray answered with a basket to tie the contest with 1:12 left.

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On the next possession, Jelden was fouled with 40 seconds left, but missed both free throws.

"I think at one point we missed six straight free throws. We're not going to win conference road games if we do that," Hastings head coach Jina Johansen said, adding the broncos were 9-of-18 from the free-throw line. "Our game plan was pretty good, but we couldn't execute at the free-throw line. That's the game right there."

Despite only making one field goal entering the fourth quarter, Christensen trusted Kristin Sabers to take a go-ahead shot for the Tigers. Sabers stepped up in the clutch with 26 seconds left, beating her defender on a spin move.

"We were going to her," Christensen said. "I try to tell her to believe her game in a little more and she'll be fine. We had single coverage on her, and she went inside and made the shot. She did some great things in this game but none bigger than that."

Hastings turned the ball over on the next possession, and DWU made its free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Erica Herrold led the Tigers with 16 points, while Amber Bray chipped in with 14 points and Ashley Bray scored 12. DWU shot 22-of-50 from the floor and 18-of-23 from the free-throw line.

Teeka Thompson led the Broncos with 20 points, while Abby Jackson contributed 17. The Broncos shot 25-of-68 from the floor in the loss.

With the regular season now behind the Tigers, Christensen said DWU is preparing for two postseasons: the GPAC Tournament and the NAIA Division II National Tournament.

"This was a huge win. I don't know what it's like to play a home playoff game at home because I've never done that since I've been here, but we're going to find out," Christensen said with a laugh. "It's nice that we're not traveling because we took care of our business. We get to play two tournaments and it's do or die. We're going to play the first one to get ready for the second one."

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HC 15 29 51 67

DWU 18 31 46 70

Hastings College (19-10, 13-9)

Chelsey Morten 4-8 2-2 11 Abby Jackson 6-12 2-2 17 Holly Hild 2-9 0-0 5 Teeka Thompson 8-24 4-10 20 Rachel Jelden 3-7 1-4 8 Alex Edwards 0-1 0-0 0 Jordan Johnson 2-5 0-0 6 Tatum Stenger 0-0 0-0 0 Kellie Schreibvogel 0-2 0-0 0 TOTALS 25-68 9-18 67

Dakota Wesleyan (23-7, 15-7)

Gabby Frykbo 1-1 0-0 3 Rylie Osthus 3-9 0-1 7 Erica Herrold 5-13 4-4 16 Ashley Bray 3-6 5-6 12 Amber Bray 4-5 5-6 14 Hope Menning 2-4 0-0 5 Madison Kuehl 1-2 1-2 3 Kelsey Bertram 1-3 0-0 3 Kristin Sabers 2-7 3-4 7 TOTALS 22-50 18-23 70

3-point goals: HC 8-21 (Morten 1, Jackson 3, Hild 1, Jelden 1 Johnson 2), DWU 8-17 (Frykbo 1, Osthus 1, Herrold 2, Ashley Bray 1, Amber Bray 1, Menning 1, Bertram 1); Rebounds: HC 34 (Thompson 9), DWU 37 (Ashley Bray 10); Assists: HC 11 (Thompson 5), DWU 14 (Herrold 4); Total fouls: HC 21, DWU 18; Turnovers: HC 7, DWU 15; Attendance-1,954

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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