Tigers cruise past Doane in return to action

The Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team topped Doane on Sunday at the Corn Palace.


For the first time since Nov. 11, the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team got back on the court.

It had to postpone multiple games and stop practicing due to COVID-19 over the last month, but its return to action was worth the wait. The Tigers didn’t look like a team that had gone nearly a month without game action in Sunday’s 77-59 win over Doane (Neb.) at the Corn Palace. It’s the first Great Plains Athletic Conference win of the season for the Tigers, as well.

“We’re really excited to come back out of our huge break and come back and get a win,” DWU guard Kaylee Kirk said. “It’s a good start for us.”

The Tigers (3-1, 1-1 GPAC) didn’t need to ease back into the game, rather scored the game’s first five points. DWU gained a 20-12 lead after the first quarter and 41-31 at halftime, as it maintained a double-digit lead for much of the second half.

Even though it started 1-for-7 from 3-point range, DWU’s slick passing led to open looks from beyond the arc and in the paint. It assisted on 21 of 30 makes, with Kirk and Tripp native Matti Reiner each having a team-high six assists. It only turned it over 11 times, as well.


“(Doane) threw a matchup zone, and I thought we handled it well,” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “... I thought Matti Reiner played really well, too, on the high post being able to see things and getting the ball to the people.”

Despite the open looks, DWU shot 37.5 percent from the field and 9-for-33 from 3-point range. It made up for it with 19 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds. The Tigers held a 49-28 advantage on the glass, which was partly due to Doane (3-6, 1-5) shooting 32 percent.

It was a team effort to keep Doane off the boards. Alexandria native Jada Campbell had eight points and nine rebounds, while Kirk finished with 10 points and eight boards. Reiner chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. Rynn Osthus had a team-high four offensive rebounds off the bench, as the sophomore also added nine points.

“We know that’s the most important thing, especially for a team that crashes a lot,” Campbell said. “You get a second possession for yourself and create more offense.”

DWU also created more offensive chances with its full-court ball pressure. Its scrappy in-your-face defense led to Doane committing 17 giveaways, with Kirk, Haidyn Pitsch and Mya Wilson all recording two steals. Pitsch scored a team-high 17 points for the Tigers.

While DWU passed to open looks, Doane struggled to find space between defenders. It tried to stay close by knocking down 24 of 26 free-throw attempts. Olivia Nall had a game-high 22 points, but shot 6-for-15 and 1-for-7 from 3-point range. Haylee Heits scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Meanwhile, DWU had four starters reach double figures, including Haylee Mork, who had 12 points on four made 3s. It culminated in its first conference win of the year.

“I think every single girl is a threat and can go off on any given night,” Kirk said. “We were in the locker room, it’s hard to play a team when there’s not just one girl you’re worried about. It’s every girl and I think that’s why we pass so well because we can trust each other.”


Dakota Wesleyan University 77, Doane 59

Doane (3-6, 1-5): Madison Davis 3-5 2-2 9, Ashley Teten 0-4 0-0 0, Olivia Nall 6-15 9-10 22, Haylee Heits 4-11 4-4 12, Sydney Roth 0-5 4-4 4, Kate Jansky 0-0 0-0 0, Bailey Baack 1-1 1-2 2, Taylor Perry 0-0 0-0 0, Ragan Nickless 0-0 0-0 0, Kyla Miller 1-2 2-2 4, Halle Konz 0-4 0-0 0, Azallee Johnson 1-3 2-2 4. Team totals: 16-50 24-26 59.

Dakota Wesleyan (3-1, 1-1): Kaylee Kirk 4-10 2-2 10, Haidyn Pitsch 7-18 0-0 17, Haylee Mork 4-11 0-0 12, Matti Reiner 5-12 2-2 13, Jada Campbell 4-6 0-0 8, Aspen Hansen 0-1 0-0 0, Rynn Osthus 4-7 0-0 9, Grace Imbery 1-4 0-0 2, Mya Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Korynn Clason 0-3 0-0 0, Isabel Ihnen 0-3 0-0 0, Britney Lovre 0-1 0-0 0, Anna Campbell 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Gottlob 0-1 0-0 0, Abbigail Magnuson 1-2 4-6 6. Team totals: 30-80 8-10 77.

D 12 31 42 59

DWU 20 41 62 77

3-pointers: D 3-14 (Davis 1-1, Nall 1-7, Baack 1-1, Teten 0-2, Roth 0-3); DWU 9-33 (Mork 4-9, Pitsch 3-11, Reiner 1-4, Osthus 1-2, Imbery 0-2, Clason 0-1, Ihnen 0-2, Lovre 0-1). Rebounds: D 28 (Tetn 9, Heits 9); DWU 49 (Campbell 9, Reiner 8, Kirk 8). Assists: D 6; DWU 21 (Kirk 6, Reiner 6). Steals: D 8 (Nall 5); DWU 10 (Kirk 2, Pitsch 2, Wilson 2). Blocked shots: D 2; DWU 4 (Magnuson 2). Turnovers: D 17; DWU 11. Total fouls: D 12; DWU 18.


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