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No. 9 Broncos fend off No. 8 Tiger women

With sole possession of second place in the Great Plains Athletic Conference on the line, the No. 8 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team couldn't get over the hump.

Dakota Wesleyan's Erica Herrold (14) drives past Hastings College's Holly Hild (13) to the basket during a game on Saturday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan's Erica Herrold (14) drives past Hastings College's Holly Hild (13) to the basket during a game on Saturday at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

With sole possession of second place in the Great Plains Athletic Conference on the line, the No. 8 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team couldn't get over the hump.

On multiple occasions in the second half, the Tigers would chip No. 9 Hastings' lead to within three points or closer, but couldn't find a way to tie or take the lead.

The Broncos held DWU to a season-low 54 points and came away with a 62-54 GPAC victory on Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. It was DWU's first loss at the Corn Palace this season.

"Defensively, they were pretty physical and we didn't do a good job handling their physicality," DWU head coach Jason Christensen said. "A lot of teams don't do that to us. We couldn't get in an offensive flow at all."

After closing out the first quarter with a 13-10 lead, DWU saw Hastings start the second quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 20-13 lead. From there, the Broncos (19-5, 12-3 GPAC) would never surrender the lead, holding a 32-25 advantage at halftime and leading 49-44 at the end of the third quarter.

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"In the half court defense we've been pretty good all season and sometimes it just came down to them missing some open shots," Hastings head coach Jina Johansen said. "We really do fight. They are so physical and big, but I thought we had a lot of fight."

Leading the way for the Broncos' offense was 5-foot-3 guard Shandra Farmer, who scored a game-high 17 points.

"She's obviously very quick and she had a great game," Johansen said. "With them switching screens, any time she got a mismatch, she needed to take advantage of it. She took on the challenge today."

Next to Farmer, MacKenzie Willicott scored 15 points and Holly Hild added 13 points as the Broncos went 19-of-55 from the field for 34.5 percent, 4-of-16 from behind the arc for 25 percent and 20-of-24 from the line for 83 percent.

In the fourth quarter, DWU (19-4, 10-4 GPAC) pulled with two points twice at 49-47 and 51-49 before Hastings went on a 4-0 run to build a 55-49 margin with 3 minutes and 35 seconds left in the contest. The Tigers were never able recover and make it a one possession game as DWU starters Rylie Osthus and Erica Herrold each fouled out in the final frame.

Osthus finished with a team-high 13 points, while Kristin Sabers added 11 points. Amber and Ashley Bray each chipped in nine points.

"We needed to make some plays down the stretch and we didn't," Christensen said. "We didn't have that playmaker that stepped up and usually we always have that one playmaker step up."

The Tigers went 19-of-45 from the field (42 percent), 2-of-16 on 3-pointers (12 percent) and 14-of-20 from the free-throw line (70 percent). DWU won the rebounding battle 33-25 but committed 19 turnovers in the loss.

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"We gave up on trying to get the ball inside and we turned it over too much trying to get it inside," Christensen said. "We held them to 34 percent shooting and outrebounded them. Defensively, we were there, we just didn't get anything done offensively."

With his team suffering back-to-back losses for the first time this season and falling to third place in the GPAC standings, Christensen said the team will search for answers. Christensen pointed out last year the Tigers dropped three games in a row in January only to bounce back in February and reach the GPAC Tournament championship game.

"We have to come together as a team and we have to get better," Christensen said. "You can learn from losses and I think we'll learn from these. I don't think we've peaked yet. We have to go back to the drawing board and get some offensive production."

The Tigers will host instate rival Mount Marty at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Corn Palace.

Hastings 62, Dakota Wesleyan 54

Hastings (18-5, 11-3 GPAC)

Shandra Farmer 5-13 6-7 17 MacKenzie Willicott 5-6 5-8 15 Holly Hild 4-8 4-4 13 Jordan Johnson 0-5 1-1 1 Rachel Jelden 2-7 2-2 6 Emma Grenfell 0-2 0-0 0 Taylor Menke 0-1 2-2 2 Shanelle Farmer 3-11 0-0 8 Alex Edwards 0-1 0-0 0 Gabby Grasso 0-0 0-0 0 Kellie Schreivogel 0-1 0-0 0 Totals 19-55 20-24 62

Dakota Wesleyan (19-3, 10-3 GPAC)

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Rylie Osthus 5-10 3-4 13 Erica Herrold 3-5 0-2 7 Ashley Bray 2-6 5-6 9 Kristin Sabers 5-9 1-2 11 Sarah Carr 2-4 0-0 4 Kynedi Cheeseman 0-2 0-0 0 Chesney Nagel 0-2 1-2 1 Amber Bray 2-7 4-4 9 Totals 19-45 14-20 54

H 10 32 49 54

DWU 13 25 44 62

3-point goals: H 4-16 (Shanelle Farmer 2-6, Shandra Farmer 1-4, Hild 1-1 Johnson 0-3, Jelden 0-1, Menke 0-1), DWU 2-16 (Amber Bray 1-4, Herrold 1-2, Osthus 0-2, Ashley Bray 0-4, Carr 0-1, Cheeseman 0-1, Nagel 0-2); Rebounds: H 25 (Willicott 6), DWU 33 (Amber Bray 7); Assists: H 10 (Jelden 2), DWU 9 (Nagel 2); Fouls: H 23, DWU 22; Fouled out: H (none), DWU (Osthus, Herrold); Steals: H 5 (Johnson 2), DWU 2 (Osthus 2); Turnovers: H 9, DWU 19; Attendance: 1,000.

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
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