Tiger women hunting home playoff game
The Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team wants to accomplish something the Tigers haven't done in 12 years--host a playoff game at the Corn Palace.
The Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team wants to accomplish something the Tigers haven't done in 12 years-host a playoff game at the Corn Palace.
DWU last hosted a Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament game during the 2003-04 season, which was also the last time the Tigers made the national tournament.
The past four seasons, DWU has qualified for the GPAC tournament only to lose in the first round. Last year, the Tigers fell to eventual national champion Morningside by 11 points.
This year, the Tigers find themselves in the hunt for a top-4 seed and a home playoff game in the GPAC tournament.
"This is the time of the year you want to be playing your best basketball," DWU head coach Jason Christensen said. "We want to make a run right now. Hopefully, we can keep getting better."
After Wednesday's 80-57 win over Dordt, the No. 16-ranked Tigers (11-6 GPAC) stand currently in a four-way tie for second place in the GPAC standings with No. 9 Briar Cliff, No. 12 Concordia and No. 11 Hastings (11-6), while No. 2 Morningside (15-2) remains atop the GPAC.
With five conference games left, plenty is riding on each game as the top-5 teams and sixth-placed Mount Marty (10-7) battle for positioning for the GPAC tournament.
Three of DWU's last five conference games are at the Corn Palace starting with Nebraska Wesleyan at 2 p.m. today. The Tigers play at No. 2 Morningside on Wednesday and at St. Mary (Neb.) on Feb. 13 before hosting Northwestern and No. 11 Hastings in the final two home games.
"I like our schedule, but we have to worry about ourselves and not worry about the rest of the league," Christensen said. "We have to win on Saturday and just keep winning."
The Tigers also have a non-conference game against Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska on Feb. 12.
After a three-game conference losing streak, the Tigers have responded winning three of its last four conference games. Defense has led the way in the past four games as DWU has held its opponents to an average of 55 points during the stretch.
"If we don't worry about everyone else, I think we'll get that home playoff game," Christensen said. "We need to keep coming to practice with energy and focus."
Kristin Sabers and Erica Herrold each lead the team with an average of 15.7 points per game, while Ashley Bray is averaging 11.6 points per game and Amber Bray chips in 9.8 points per game.
GPAC women's basketball standings
Morningside 15-2 23-2
Briar Cliff 11-6 18-6
Concordia 11-6 18-6
Dakota Wesleyan 11-6 18-6
Hastings 11-6 17-7
Mount Marty 10-7 16-9
Northwestern 8-9 13-10
College of Saint Mary 7-10 13-11
Doane 6-10 13-11
Midland 5-12 7-17
Dordt 3-14 7-17
Nebraska Wesleyan 3-14 4-16
2014-15: DWU seeded eighth lost by 11 to Morningside in the first round of the GPAC tournament last year.
2013-14: DWU seeded sixth lost by 90-54 to Mornings first round of GPAC tournament
2012-13: DWU seeded fifth lost to Briar Cliff 80-67
2011-12: DWU seeded eighth lost to Concordia 93-63
2010-11: 2-16 missed GPAC tournament
2009-10: 4-14 missed GPAC tournament
2008-09: 6-12 missed GPAC tournament
2007-08: DWU seeded sixth lost to Hastings 77-51
2006-07: DWU 5-13 missed GPAC tournament
2005-06: DWU 7-11 missed GPAC tournament
2004-05: DWU 5-13 missed GPAC tournament
2003-04: DWU 13-5 third seed