ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Second half surge fuels No. 12 Tiger women past Red Raiders

Three days removed from its biggest win of the season, the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team was determined not to take a step back.

Dakota Wesleyan's Kristin Sabers (34) drievs to the basket as Northwestern's Darbi Gustafson (34) defends during a game on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan's Kristin Sabers (34) drievs to the basket as Northwestern's Darbi Gustafson (34) defends during a game on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Three days removed from its biggest win of the season, the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team was determined not to take a step back.

And despite a slow first half, the No. 12 Tigers clicked into another gear, scoring 51 points in the second half to fend off a pesky Northwestern College team 81-72 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup in front of 3,194 fans on Wednesday at the Corn Palace. The win, paired with Hastings' loss to Concordia, clinched the No. 2 seed for DWU in the GPAC tournament.

Referencing his team's 75-53 win over GPAC regular season champion Concordia, DWU head coach Jason Christensen said the team spent the past 48 hours talking about avoiding a letdown against the eager Red Raiders.

"I'm proud of these kids, we had to play an emotional game on Sunday and (Northwestern) is a tough team. They have 18 wins and they're trying to go to the national tournament," Christensen said. "It was a big-time win for us. Everyone is talking about Sunday's win, but for me, as a coach, this was the big win. We had to get our kids ready."

The Tigers (24-4, 15-4 GPAC) found themselves down 19-14 after the first quarter, tied at 30 at halftime and shooting 32 percent from the field-well below their season-average (45 percent).

ADVERTISEMENT

"It wasn't that we were playing bad in the first half, we just couldn't make a shot," Christensen said. "We just couldn't get any offense going. We are a good shooting team and I knew we wouldn't continue to shoot that bad."

DWU's shooting woes didn't carry into the second half as the Tigers generated a 14-7 run to start the third quarter to take 44-37 lead. DWU continued to exchange baskets with Northwestern, but the Red Raiders couldn't sustain a long run. The Tigers would never surrender the lead after taking control early in the third quarter.

"In the third quarter, we turned the ball over too much and those turnovers led to some runouts for them," Northwestern head coach Chris Yaw said. "We defended pretty well in the half court and for lots of the time during a shot clock. We just had some letdowns at the end of (shot) clocks."

Northwestern (18-10, 10-10 GPAC) pulled within four points at the end of the third quarter, but the Tigers started the fourth quarter on a 16-6 run, highlighted by an old-fashioned three-point play by Erica Herrold and a 3-pointer by Kristin Sabers.

"We needed to pick it up on the defensive end in the second half and play the second half with more fire," said Rylie Osthus, who had a game-high 20 points to go along with eight assists. "We did and piled on more and more."

The strong start in the fourth quarter gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 14 points, but a quick 9-0 run by the Red Raiders clipped DWU's lead down to five points with 2 minutes and 30 seconds left.

Northwestern was able to pull within four points after a Paige Danner 3-pointer in the game's final minute, but Sabers responded with one of her four 3-pointers to put the Tigers up 77-70. Chesney Nagel and Osthus each knocked down two free throws each to ice the game 81-72.

"Our kids played hard tonight and we took care of the basketball," Christensen said. "Our kids just kept that fighting attitude up."

ADVERTISEMENT

DWU finished the game 26-of-64 from the field (41 percent), 7-of-27 from deep (25 percent) and 22-of-24 from the free-throw line (91 percent). Sabers recorded 16 points, while Ashley Bray added 12 points and Sarah Carr chipped in nine points.

Anna Kiel led the Red Raiders with 20 points, while Ethan native Darbi Gustafson added 14 points, Danner chipped in 12 points and Haley Birks recorded 11 points. Northwestern made 28 of 57 field goals for 49 percent shooting and committed 15 turnovers in the loss.

DWU finishes up the regular season against College of Saint Mary on Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska.

NOTES: It was senior night at the Corn Palace, the DWU women honored four seniors-players Erica Herrold and Kristin Sabers as well as student managers Kendra Cheeseman and McKenzie Weidenbach.

Dakota Wesleyan 81, Northwestern 72

Northwestern College (18-10, 10-10 GPAC)

Renee Maneman 2-8 1-4 5 Paige Danner 4-10 1-2 12 Kassidy De Jong 2-5 0-0 4 Darbi Gustafson 6-14 2-4 14 Haley Birks 5-7 1-1 11 Chanda Zomermaand 2-4 0-0 6 Anna Kiel 7-9 6-6 20 Paige Herrboldt 0-0 0-0 0 Totals 28-57 11-17 72

Dakota Wesleyan University (24-4, 15-4 GPAC)

ADVERTISEMENT

Rylie Osthus 4-12 11-11 20 Erica Herrold 2-7 4-5 8 Ashley Bray 5-8 2-3 12 Chesney Nagel 2-3 2-2 7 Amber Bray 2-6 0-0 4 Kynedi Cheeseman 2-9 1-1 5 Kristin Sabers 6-12 0-0 16 Sarah Carr 3-7 2-2 9 Angie Lee 0-0 0-0 0 Makaela Karst 0-0 0-0 0 Shanna Selby 0-0 0-0 0 Sam Schuh 0-0 0-0 0 Meghan Travis 0-0 0-0 0 Totals 26-64 22-24 81

NC 19 30 52 72

DWU 14 30 56 81

3-point goals: NC 5-16 (Danner 3-6, Zomermaand 2-4, De Jong 0-2, Gustafson 0-2, Birks 0-2), DWU 7-27 (Sabers 4-10, Carr 1-1, Osthus 1-3, Nagel 1-1, Cheeseman 0-5, Amber Bray 0-3, Ashley Bray 0-2, Herrold 0-2); Rebounds: NC 30 (Maneman 7), DWU 24 (Amber Bray 5); Assists: NC 18 (Maneman 10), DWU 18 (Osthus 8); Fouls: NC 20, DWU 18; Fouled out: NC (none), DWU (Carr); Steals: NC 6 (De Jong 2), DWU 7 (Ashley Bray 3); Blocks: NC 5 (Birks 2), DWU 2 (Sabers 2); Turnovers: NC 15, DWU 11. Attendance 3,194.

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
What To Read Next
Prep basketball action from around the state from Saturday, Feb. 4.
South Dakota State running away with regular season title
A strong second quarter in which the Kernels outscored Spearfish 22-9 proved critical.
Iowa State-bound JT Rock isn't the only one lighting it up for No. 2 Patriots