Tigers hold off Hastings for second straight win

DWU women’s second-half run sparks victory

Dakota Wesleyan University's Sydnaya Dunn, right, grabs a pass before it goes out of bounds as Hastings' Dawson Knode defends during a game on Tuesday at the Corn Palace. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

A 20-point lead nearly evaporated from the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team on Tuesday.

Hastings (Neb.) answered DWU’s 18-2 run to start the second half by locking up the Tigers’ offense with a 3-2 zone and full-court pressure. Whether it was home-court advantage at the Corn Palace, a young team simply buckling down and grinding out a win or a little of both, DWU made enough shots down the stretch to escape with a 68-60 win.

It’s the Tigers' (5-4, 3-4 GPAC) second straight Great Plains Athletic Conference win, as they’ve held their opponents to 60 points or fewer in all five wins this year.

“With a young team to get out of here with a win is huge,” DWU coach Jason Christensen said. “That might have had something to do with us being on our own floor. We got the ‘W’ and a ‘W’ in this conference is huge.”

DWU -- the top-ranked scoring defense in the GPAC -- held Hastings to 37.9 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers, including Tripp native Matti Reiner having a team-high four steals. Its defense sparked the 16-point swing to start the second half, as the Tigers forced three turnovers and continued their strong dominance on the glass.


DWU, which shot 43.3 percent, was able to get easy looks in transition and carve through Hastings’ (3-7, 3-6 GPAC) zone by sitting in the middle and taking mid-range catch-and-shoot jumpers. It led to Reiner scoring a team-high 20 points, while Haidyn Pitsch finished with 14 points.

“We just got in and played more of a fast pace, played the pace we wanted to play instead of playing to their pace,” Pitsch said. “We didn’t let their press slow us down. We kept playing fast.”

Outside of that run, DWU’s shooting struggles continued, though. It led 17-13 after the first quarter, but didn’t score for the first 5 minutes, 23 seconds of the second quarter to let Hastings tie the game. It also connected on 5 of 13 shots in the fourth quarter, while Hastings shot 10-for-19 from the field in the final frame.

“We hadn’t seen anything like that,” Christensen said of Hastings’ 3-2 zone. “... It did (impact us), but we had 12 turnovers at halftime. We made some adjustments to help them out and we only had four in the second half.”
As Hastings’ Dawson Knode and Kaitlyn Schmit both scored 15 points and Taylor Beacom added 12 points, the Broncos crept back into the game. They committed only three turnovers in the fourth and got open looks, as DWU’s lead crept down to three points, 63-60, with 51 seconds to play.

Alexandria native Jada Campbell, who shot 5-for-13, made three shots down the stretch to continue answering Hastings’ makes. Her 10-point, six-rebound performance wasn’t her most efficient of the season, but she came up big in crunch time.

“I knew I was having a bad shooting night,” Campbell said. “I was trying to figure out how I can impact the game. (My shots) ended up going in. My teammates found me and they still trusted me.”
Kaylee Kirk grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, while Rynn Osthus recorded five points, four rebounds and seven assists. Grace Imbery and Haylee Mork both finished with six points, including Mork knocking down a corner 3 in the fourth to stop a Hastings run.

“We just got to stay playing hard the full 40 minutes,” Pitsch said. “We were up by 20 at one point and we have to sustain that lead. Obviously it’s a good win, but we have to keep our big leads and not let it close like that at the end.”

DWU plays Dordt at 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 in Sioux Center, Iowa.


Dakota Wesleyan University 68, Hastings College 60

Hastings College (3-7, 3-6 GPAC): Ali Smith 2-4 2-2 7, Taylor Beacom 5-11 1-2 12, Kaitlyn Schmit 4-13 6-6 15, Carley Leners 0-2 0-0 0, Dawson Knode 6-13 1-2 15, Elle Danley 0-1 0-0 0, Allison Bauer 3-8 0-0 7, Karli Hale 1-3 0-0 2, Natalia Dick 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-58 10-12 60.

Dakota Wesleyan (5-4, 3-4 GPAC): Kaylee Kirk 1-2 0-0 2, Rynn Osthus 2-4 1-2 5, Haidyn Pitsch 5-13 2-2 14, Matti Reiner 8-15 2-2 20, Jada Campbell 5-13 0-0 10, Aspen Hansen 0-1 0-0 0, Grace Imbery 1-1 4-4 6, Haylee Mork 2-6 0-0 6, Isabel Ihnen 0-1 0-0 0, Sydnaya Dunn 2-4 1-1 5. Totals 26-60 10-11 68.

HC 13 26 37 60

DWU 17 30 52 68

3-point field goals: HC 6-14 (Smith 1-2, Beacom 1-1, Schmit 1-4, Knode 2-3, Bauer 1-4); DWU 6-14 (Osthus 0-1, Pitsch 2-5, Reiner 2-3, Mork 2-5). Rebounds: HC 30 (Leners 9); DWU 32 (Kirk 8). Assists: HC 10 (Schmit 5); DWU 19 (Osthus 7). Steals: HC 10 (Beacom 3); DWU 10 (Reiner 4). Blocked shots: HC 1 (Danley 1); DWU 3 (Reiner 1, Campbell 1, Dunn 1). Turnovers: HC 18; DWU 16. Total fouls: HC 14; DWU 14. Officials: Ryan Freese, Barry DeKay, Jamie Arens. A: 89.

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