Tiger women come back to defeat Warriors in OT

Dakota Wesleyan survived a horrendous first half and defeated Midland 72-67 in overtime in a Great Plains Athletic Conference battle Saturday at the Corn Palace.

Dakota Wesleyan University's Micaela Erickson (10) fights for the ball with Midland's Rachel Stara during a Great Plains Athletic Conference women's basketball game on Saturday in Mitchell. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

Dakota Wesleyan survived a horrendous first half and defeated Midland 72-67 in overtime in a Great Plains Athletic Conference battle Saturday at the Corn Palace.

The Tigers fell behind by 19 points at 27-8 and ended the half trailing the Warriors 39-24. DWU committed 20 turnovers in the first half and shot 38 percent from the field.

"We didn't come out ready to play," Tiger coach Jason Christensen said of his team's first half performance. "They (Midland) threw a goofy press at us that I thought we'd be ready for but we weren't. You can't come out flat. You have to be ready to play basketball. We were just lucky that they didn't play their best basketball."

The Tigers came out of halftime playing much better. Senior Katie Johnson sparked a second half rally. After scoring only two points in the opening half Johnson scored 10 points over the first seven minutes to help put her team to within six points at 46-40.

"We struggled a little bit and kind of got out of our comfort zone," Johnson said. "But the good news was that going into halftime we knew that and we had to focus on the little things and we responded in the second half."


The second half comeback was completed when freshman Amber Bray hit a 3-point shot and DWU had its first lead of the game at 47-46 with 10 minutes to play.

Midland looked to put the game away, going on a 9-3 run capped by a 3-point shot from Dani Andersen with only 9.4 seconds left in the game.

With five seconds to play and trailing Midland 60-58, DWU's Celeste Beck got the ball and launched a 3-point shot that missed, but Johnson grabbed the rebound and laid it in at the buzzer. The referees consulted for a moment before saying the basket counted and the contest went into overtime tied at 60.

"I was the one who turned it over to give them the lead," Johnson said. "One thing we talk about is if you make a turnover you have to have the next play. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time so it worked out."

Christensen knew how big Johnson's last second shot was.

"That was huge," Christensen said. "It's about getting offensive rebounds. Celeste had a good look and Katie was there to rebound. She got a wide open look and finished it."

The Tigers led 68-67 in the overtime and finished the game with a 5-0 run to raise their record to 7-4 and 2-2 in the GPAC.

Beck led DWU with 19 points followed by Johnson and Erica Herrold with 14 points. Gabby Frybko dished out four assists.


The Tigers were 22-of-44 for 50 percent from the floor and 24-of-29 for 83 percent from the free throw line. DWU held a 30-24 rebounding advantage over the Warriors and they turned the ball over 31 times.

"I have to give my kids credit," Christensen said. "You can do two things there. You can pout about what happened in the first half and go out and get beat by 25 points, or you can go out and get something done. Our kids responded and got something done, took some pride in our game and took care of business."

Midland (4-6, 2-4) was led by Joelle Andersen, who had 22 points, and Dani Andersen added 16 points in the loss.

The Warriors shot 23-of-64 for 36 percent from the field.

DWU will play at Dordt College at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in Sioux Center, Iowa.

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