Northwestern’s late run pushes it past DWU women

The Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team fell to Northwestern on Wednesday at the Corn Palace.


The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team focused on its toughness after letting a 75-69 loss to Northwestern (Iowa) on Wednesday slip away in the final minutes at the Corn Palace.

It showed resilience by erasing multiple eight-point leads and never letting the Red Raiders (3-6, 3-3 GPAC) fully grasp control of the Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup. But whether in the post or trying to bring the ball up against Northwestern’s full-court pressure, DWU (3-2, 1-2) wants to be tougher.

On Wednesday, the lack of toughness resulted in 21 turnovers and a 17-shot disparity at the free-throw line in favor of Northwestern. Paired with a couple of times being slow to get back after a made shot, not even DWU’s strong bench hitting timely 3-pointers was enough to earn a home win.

“I think it’s going to help us get tougher in practice,” said Matti Reiner, who led the team with 18 points and seven rebounds. “We have to be tougher on each other in practice so when teams come out and they’re hard on us, pressuring us and pushing us around in the post, we’re ready for it.”
DWU turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, as it struggled to get the ball into the post without Northwestern knocking it away. The Red Raiders had five players with multiple steals. DWU improved in the second half, along with making big shots to keep Northwestern close even when it gained eight-point leads.

The Tigers battled all night, and even took a 69-65 lead on Reiner’s layup with 2:55 to play. They didn’t score again, though. Northwestern iced the game with six free throws -- it shot 10-for-12 from the line in the fourth quarter and 20-for-25 in the game -- while DWU missed three open 3s. It finished 12-for-23 from 3-point range.


“We got great looks at the end. We just couldn’t make shots,” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “We made shots to get back in the game, but at the end we couldn’t make the shots. I thought they executed well.”

A plethora of bench players stepped up for the Tigers to lead the comeback. Isabel Ihnen sank a pair of 3s to give DWU a 57-55 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but slow transition defense haunted the Tigers.

Meanwhile, Grace Imbery scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds, as she started the second half over Jada Campbell, who only played eight minutes as DWU sacrificed size for speed against Northwestern’s press. In the post, Sydnaya Dunn, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, and Abbigail Magnuson provided toughness, as Magnuson had three steals.
“We’re a really well-rounded team,” Imbery said. “We don’t really have one, two girls that will score. We have five, six girls every night that are in double figures. I think that makes us really hard to scout, and we’ll be hard to guard if we can keep that up.”

DWU had 26 bench points, and three starters scored in double figures, too. Kaylee Kirk finished with 10 points, nine assists, six rebounds, four steals and six turnovers, while Haidyn Pitsch had 11 of her 12 points in the second half, but turned it over five times.

Even with five players in double figures, Northwestern’s 19 points off turnovers and 36 points in the paint were the difference. The Red Raiders shot 5-for-19 from deep, as they made an emphasis to get into the post against DWU’s smaller lineups after the first quarter, with Molly Schany finishing with 22 points and Devyn Kemble scoring 11 points.

It’s a learning process for the young Tigers, as they travel to Jamestown (N.D.) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“We’re just a whole new team … so we’re still trying to find ourselves as a coaching staff, who to play and what are good combinations,” Christensen said. “The thing I got out of this is I thought we battled, but we have to get some toughness. … You see that a lot with new teams, but the thing I like is there were three points in that game where we could have folded and we didn’t.”


Northwestern 75, Dakota Wesleyan University 69

Northwestern (3-6, 3-3): Taylor VanderVelde 2-6 2-2 6, Sammy Blum 0-5 4-4 4, Alexis Toering 3-8 0-0 6, Devyn Kemble 4-8 0-0 11, Molly Schany 9-13 4-7 22, Maddie Jones 2-2 3-3 7, Emilee Danner 1-4 2-2 5, Jada Cunningham 3-3 5-7 12, Jazy Prins 0-3 0-0 0, Hanna Nerem 1-4 0-0 2. Team totals 22-56 20-25 75.

Dakota Wesleyan (3-2, 1-2): Kaylee Kirk 3-6 4-4 10, Haidyn Pitsch 4-9 1-2 12, Haylee Mork 1-6 0-0 3, Matti Reiner 7-15 0-0 18, Jada Campbell 0-1 0-0 0, Aspen Hansen 0-0 0-2 0, Rynn Osthus 1-1 0-0 3, Grace Imbery 5-9 0-0 10, Korynn Clason 1-2 0-0 2, Isabel Ihnen 4-7 3-4 11, Sydnaya Dunn 0-1 0-0 0, Abbigail Magnuson 0-3 0-0 0. Team totals 26-60 5-8 69.

NW 17 35 53 75

DWU 16 31 49 69

3-pointers: NW 5-19 (Kemble 3-7, Dane 1-4, Cunningham 1-1, Prins 0-2, VanderVelde 0-2, Blum 0-2, Toering 0-1); DWU 12-23 (Reiner 4-6, Pitsch 3-5, Ihnen 3-4, Mork 1-6, Osthus 1-1, Imbery 0-1). Rebounds: NW 28 (Blum 5, Toering 5); DWU 31 (Reiner 7, Kirk 6). Assists: NW 10 (Cunningham 3); DWU 17 (Kirk 9). Blocked shots: NW 4 (Toering 3); DWU 6 (Campbell 4, Reiner 2). Steals: NW 12 (Toering 3, VanderVelde 2, Blum 2, Schany 2, Danner 2); DWU 8 (Kirk 4, Magnuson 3). Turnovers: NW 17; DWU 21. Total fouls: NW 13, DWU 21.

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