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Strong defense leads DWU women past Jimmies

On a night when the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team struggled to make a shot, it turned to toughness and strong defense to get by the University of Jamestown on Tuesday at the Corn Palace.

Dakota Wesleyan University's Rylie Osthus (10) dribbles around the defense of Jamestown's Mya Buffetta (1) during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game on Tuesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan University's Rylie Osthus (10) dribbles around the defense of Jamestown's Mya Buffetta (1) during a Great Plains Athletic Conference game on Tuesday night at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

On a night when the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team struggled to make a shot, it turned to toughness and strong defense to get by the University of Jamestown on Tuesday at the Corn Palace.

No. 2 DWU held No. 16 Jamestown to under 10 points in each of the first three quarters, as well as limiting the Jimmies to 24 percent shooting and 19 percent 3-point shooting en route to a 62-40 Great Plains Athletic Conference win.

“I thought our kids really handled the physicality of the game,” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “... We found a way to win tonight. When you can play good defense and can rebound, you’ll be in every game no matter how bad you shoot.”

The Tigers did both, making its defensive intensity evident right away by forcing Jamestown to miss its first nine shots of the game and shoot 14.8 percent shooting in the first half.

Alexandria native Kynedi Cheeseman praised DWU’s gameplan in knowing who Jamestown’s shooters were. As a result, Jamestown’s Paige Schmidt -- 10 points on 2 of 10 shooting -- was the only Jimmie in double-figures, while their leading scorer on the year, Marina Nowak, was held to six.

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The Tigers also controlled the glass, winning the rebounding battle 40-23 after putting an emphasis on defensive rebounding after the Jimmies grabbed six first-quarter offensive boards.

Rylie Osthus (8), Plankinton native Makaela Karst (7), Sydney Halling (6), Sarah Carr (5) and Madison Mathews (5) all grabbed at least five rebounds.

“Just finding a girl to box out was one of the main things we talked about halftime,” Cheeseman said. “So coming out in the second half, that was our main focus, was just to get boards.”

DWU’s rebounding, along with forcing 10 first-half turnovers led to it growing its 15-7 first-quarter lead to 29-15 at the break. The Tigers had turnover problems, too, finishing with 18.

The Jimmies also held the Tigers to 35.7 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from 3-point range, with Cheeseman saying the Tigers could have looked for more backdoor cuts.

Although, Christensen isn’t worried, saying it’s part of the process. He was also pleased with his team’s awareness as the Tigers didn’t attempt a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter after going 1-for-10 from beyond the arc in the second and third quarters.

That resulted in DWU’s best shooting quarter of the night (63.6 percent), as well as extending its lead to as many as 24.

Despite Jamestown’s physicality, ball pressure and ability to deny the ball, Cheeseman came out of halftime attacking the basket. She scored 16 of her 23 points in the second half, along with making the team’s only trey after the first quarter. The Tigers’ lead grew to 40-23 at the end of three frames.

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“I was proud of her, especially in the fourth quarter when they were taking away some of our stuff and she was just getting to the rim,” Christensen said.

She also tied for a team-high six assists with Osthus, who also scored 10. Carr and Karst added nine and eight points, respectively, and Halling scored eight off the bench.

“I just thought we were really tough tonight,” Cheeseman said. “Our shots weren’t falling on the offensive end, but we could control what we did defensively and that was big for us tonight.”

The Tigers (8-0, 5-0 GPAC) host Presentation College at 6 p.m. today at the Corn Palace.

No. 2 Dakota Wesleyan 62, No. 16 Jamestown 40

Dakota Wesleyan (8-0, 5-0): Kynedi Cheeseman 7-10 7-8 23, Rylie Osthus 3-8 4-5 10, Sarah Carr 4-17 0-0 9, Makaela Karst 2-8 4-4 8, Sydney Halling 3-8 2-2 8, Madison Mathews 1-5 0-0 3, Shannon O’Malley 00-0 1-2 1, Sam Schuh 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylee Kirk 0-0 0-0 0, Rebecca Buchholz 0-0 0-0 0, Kathryn Parsley 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Gottlob 0-0 0-0 0, Meghan Travis 0-0 0-0 0.

Jamestown (5-3, 2-2): Paige Schmidt 2-10 4-4 10, Emma Stoehr 2-13 3-6 8, Jory Mullen 2-5 2-2 6, Marina Nowak 2-5 2-2 6, Noelle Josephson 2-6 1-4 6, Mya Buffetta 1-5 0-0 2, Jenna Doyle 1-4 0-1 2, Kasey Harper 0-2 0-0 0, Lissy McCulloch 0-0 0-0 0, Mackensi Higlin 0-0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Sparby 0-0 0-0 0.

DWU 15 14 11 22 62

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UJ  7 8  8 17 40

3-point field goals: DWU 4-17 (Cheeseman 2-3, Carr 1-5, Mathews 1-4); UJ 4-21 (Schmidt 2-8, Stoehr 1-6, Josephson 1-1). Rebounds: DWU 40 (Osthus 8, Karst 7, Halling 6, Carr 5, Mathews 5); UJ 23 (Nowak 9). Assists: DWU 14 (Osthus 6, Cheeseman 6); UJ 6 (Nowak 2, Buffeta 2). Blocks: DWU 3 (Carr 1, Cheeseman 1, Mathews 1); UJ 4 (Stoehr 1, Doyle 1). Steals: DWU 6 (Osthus 2); UJ 14 (Josephson 5, Nowak 3, Stoehr 2, Schmidt 2). Turnovers: DWU 18; UJ 20. Total fouls: DWU 16; UJ 20. A: 2,132.

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