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No. 12 DWU women fend off Doane College 81-67

Fueled by junior Erica Herrold's career-high 28 points, the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team will enjoy Christmas sitting tied atop of the Great Plains Athletic Conference with No. 2 Morningside.

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Dakota Wesleyan University's Erica Herrold, right, goes up for a shot as Doane College's Morgan Hill, left, tries to defend her during a Great Plains Athletic Conference women's basketball game on Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

Fueled by junior Erica Herrold's career-high 28 points, the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team will enjoy Christmas sitting tied atop of the Great Plains Athletic Conference with No. 2 Morningside.

The No. 12 DWU Tigers fended off a possible upset bid by the Doane College Tigers 81-67 on Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. DWU improved to 12-1 (6-1 GPAC), which is the team's best start since the 2003-04 season when the team finished second in NAIA national tournament.

"She took the game over," DWU head coach Jason Christensen said about Herrold's performance. "She did a good job and I can't say enough good things about her. It was a big win for us."

Herrold, a Dimock native, finished the game 12-of-16 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from the free throw line, while Kristin Sabers added 25 points in the win for the Tigers.

"We moved the ball incredibly well," said Herrold, who had 18 points in the first half. "I have to give the credit to my teammates because they had great passes all game."

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DWU went 30-of-64 from the field for 46 percent shooting and 15-of-21 from the free throw line for 71 percent in the win.

"They are a tough matchup for us and they have a good inside and outside presence," Doane head coach Tracee Fairbanks said. "They are a really good team, but I thought we really battled and I don't think the end score was indicative of what the game was like. We competed throughout the entire game."

Doane hung with DWU throughout the first three quarters, but DWU outscored Doane 22-14 in the fourth quarter. Pulling away from teams in the final quarter has been a common theme for DWU this year and Christensen credited the team's condition for another strong fourth quarter.

"We've been winning fourth quarters and I can't say enough about our strength and conditioning," said Christensen giving credit to DWU strength and conditioning coach Kyle Hobbs. "

Doane started the game strong, jumping out to a 10-4 lead early in the first quarter. The Tigers quickly turned things around and took a 20-19 lead at the end of the first frame. DWU extended its lead to 38-30 at halftime and Doane trailed only by six after the third quarter with the score 59-53.

"Doane is a good basketball team, they're just losing a lot of close games," Christensen said.

Doane made 26 of 52 field goals for 50 percent shooting and went 7-of-18 on 3-pointers for 38 percent in the loss. Heather Broman led Doane with 25 points, while Hanah Barnard added 16 points and Shelbi Bittinger chipped in 12 points.

Along with Herrold and Sabers, true freshmen Rylie Osthus and Kelsey Bertram each contributed eight points for DWU. Osthus dished out a team-high five assists and Amber Bray added five points.

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"We need to keep doing what we are good at," Christensen said. "We have to get the ball inside as much as we can and when team's double inside, we need to make threes."

Heading into a two-week break, Christensen said he's proud of his team's strong start to the season but said the Tigers still have plenty of work ahead of them.

"We're excited about it but we want to be there at the end of February," Christensen said. "We are going to take one game at a time and at the end of February we'll see where we are at."

DWU plays Hastings College on Jan. 2 in Hastings, Neb.

DC 19 30 53 67

DWU 20 38 59 81

Doane (7-7, 1-6 GPAC)

Shelbi Bittinger 4-13 1-2 12 Hannah Barnard 7-9 0-0 16 Jenna Nieveen 1-4 0-0 3 Morgan Hill 3-6 0-0 6 Heather Broman 9-14 7-10 25 Julia Reed 0-0 0-0 0 McKenna Dodd 1-5 0-0 3 Marie Matthews 0-0 0-0 0 Karolyn Cahill 1-1 0-0 3 Claire Phillips 0-0 0-0 0 Bre Hagedorn 0-0 0-0 0 TOTALS 26-52 8-12 67

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DWU (12-1, 6-1 GPAC)

Gabby Frykbo 0-1 2-2 2 Rylie Osthus 3-11 1-3 8 Erica Herrold 12-16 4-7 28 Kristin Sabers 8-16 7-7 25 Ambery Bray 2-7 0-0 1-2 5 Hope Menning 0-0 0-0 0 Ashley Bray 2-7 1-2 5 Kelsey Bertram 3-6 0-0 8 TOTALS 30-64 15-21 81

3-point goals: DWU 6-21 (Sabers 2, Bertram 2, Bray, Osthus), DC 7-18 (Bittinger 3, Barnard 2, Nieveen, Cahill); Rebounds: DWU 29 (Bray 7), DC 25 (Broman 9); Assists: DWU 15 (Osthus 5), DC 14 (Bittinger 4); Turnovers: DWU 10, DC 17; Fouls: DWU 14, DC 19

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
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