Lockdown defense: DWU women block seven shots in win over Midland

The DWU women ended their three-game losing streak.

Dakota Wesleyan University's Jada Campbell, right, and Midland's Katy Gathje (35) go after a loose ball on Saturday at the Corn Palace. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

The losing streak is snapped.

The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team shut down one of the most potent offensive attacks in the Great Plains Athletic Conference on Saturday at the Corn Palace. Midland (Neb.) was held to half of its season scoring average during the Tigers’ 61-38 win, which ended a three-game skid.

“I think just as a team, we needed a little pick-me-up after coming off some tough losses,” said Rynn Osthus, who started for the first time this season. “This was really big for us as a whole to get us going again.”

It didn’t matter that the Tigers (4-4, 2-4 GPAC) didn’t score in the fourth quarter until 5:10 remained. Or that their first field goal came after more than eight minutes elapsed.

As it had all night, DWU’s defense shined. They blocked seven shots, forced tough looks from mid-range and held a team averaging 75.8 points per game to 17.7 percent shooting and 2-for-20 from 3-point range.


Even as DWU was held to three free-throws in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter, it held Midland (9-4, 6-4 GPAC) to four points to maintain a 19-point lead and prevent any semblance of a comeback.

“Defensively, we were really good,” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “What we’ve been talking about is go out and control what you can control. … We can control defense. We can control rebounding, and I think that’s two things we did today and that’s why we were in the game.”

Alexandria native Jada Campbell blocked four shots and Tripp native Matti Reiner swatted a pair, while Osthus recorded two steals. The Warriors didn’t have any double-digit scorers, as Peyton Wingert and Katy Gathje scored eight points each on a combined 3-for-18 shooting.

DWU also held a 57-34 edge on the glass, including 20 offensive rebounds. The addition of Osthus, who grabbed nine rebounds, to the starting lineup helped.

But the Tigers leaned on the 6-foot-4 Campbell to control the glass. She had six offensive boards during her 15-point, 15-rebound double-double. Reiner added 10 points and 10 rebounds (three offensive). DWU shot 32 percent from the field, but its rebounding led to 19 second-chance points.

“We knew coming into it (Midland) is a rebounding team,” Campbell said. “I think everybody stepped up into their role and went after the board.”

Outside of Haidyn Pitsch draining three 3s during her 13-point game, the Tigers lived in the paint on offense. They tried to get open looks in mid-range, while feeding passes into the post for 30 points in the paint.

Kaylee Kirk and Reiner dished out six and four assists, respectively, as DWU held a 19-to-8 assist-to-turnover ratio.


Still, outside of shooting 10 of 18 from the field in the third quarter to expand a 30-18 halftime lead, the Tigers struggled to find consistency on offense. But all night, their defense stepped up.

“I think we really bought into it and talked really well,” Osthus said. “We work really hard at practice. Our coaches are really good at scouting it out for us, showing us exactly what they’re going to do. We took that to the court and talked to each other and really bought into it.”

DWU hosts Hastings (Neb.) at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Dakota Wesleyan University 61, Midland 38

Midland (9-4, 6-4): Makenna Sullivan 2-5 2-2 7, Peyton Wingert 0-10 8-12 8, Lexi Kraft 1-3 0-0 3, Lexis Haase 2-11 0-2 4, Katy Gathje 3-8 2-2 8, Kennedy Darner 1-5 1-1 3, Frankie Klausen 0-1 0-0 0, Emma Shepard 0-4 0-0 0, Taylor Houska 1-2 0-0 2, Sam Shepard 0-9 1-4 1, Asia Bryant 0-0 0-0 0, Erin Prusa 1-4 0-0 2. Team totals: 11-62 14-23 38.

Dakota Wesleyan University (4-4, 2-4): Kaylee Kirk 0-8 0-0 0, Rynn Osthus 3-6 0-2 7, Haidyn Pitsch 4-10 2-2 13, Matti Reiner 5-16 0-0 10, Jada Campbell 7-16 1-2 15, Aspen Hansen 0-1 0-0 0, Grace Imbery 2-5 0-0 5, Mya Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Haylee Mork 1-7 0-0 3, Isabel Ihnen 0-0 0-0 0, Sydnaya Dunn 1-2 2-2 4, Britney Lovre 0-1 0-0 0, Anna Campbell 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Gottlob 0-1 2-2 2, Abbigail Magnuson 1-2 0-0 2. Team totals: 24-75 7-10 61.

M 7 18 34 38


DWU 18 30 54 61

3-pointers: M 2-20 (Sullivan 1-1, Kraft 1-2, Wingert 0-3, Haase 0-4, Darner 0-3, Klausen 0-1, E. Shepard 0-1, S. Shepard 0-5); DWU 6-19 (Pitsch 3-6, Osthus 1-2, Imbery 1-2, Mork 1-5, Reiner 0-3, Lovre 0-1). Rebounds: M 34 (Sullivan 7, Wingert 6, Haase 6); DWU 57 (Campbell 15, Reiner 10, Osthus 9). Assists: M 5; DWU 19 (Kirk 6). Blocked shots: M 6 (Sullivan 4); DWU 7 (Campbell 4, Reiner 2). Steals: M 4 (Sullivan 3); DWU 3 (Osthus 2). Turnovers: M 8; DWU 8. Total fouls: M 10; DWU 18.

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