MITCHELL, S.D. – When the No. 2-ranked Concordia University Bulldogs tried to use its full-court press, the No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team had an answer.
The Tigers (23-4, 14-4 GPAC) used a steady balance of interior shooting and a powerful defensive effort to bring Concordia's 26-game winning streak to an end on Sunday afternoon in the Corn Palace by the final of 75-53 in Mitchell, S.D.
Backed by a 12-0 run in the first quarter, DWU was able to weave its way through a stout Concordia (26-2, 17-1 GPAC) defense that entered Sunday's contest allowing 59 points to its opponents.
As the Tigers carried a 16-10 lead into the second half, senior Erica Herrold (Dimock, S.D.) nailed a 3-pointer, giving DWU a 32-18 advantage. It didn't stop there, however. Freshmen Sarah Carr (Huron, S.D.) and Kynedi Cheeseman (Alexandria, S.D.) made their presence known as Carr sank a pair of free throws, followed by a Cheeseman 3-pointer. With 21 ticks left in the half, Carr went to work from beyond the arc, nailing a 3-pointer, giving the Tigers an 18-point advantage.
"They (Cheeseman and Carr) are just hard workers," said Jason Christensen, head DWU women's basketball coach. "You see them in the gym together all the time. They are always looking for ways to get better and those are the kind of kids we like at Dakota Wesleyan."
Despite being outscored 20-14 in the third quarter, the Tigers answered with 21 points in fourth that started with an Amber Bray (Anoka, Minn.) trey. Twin sister Ashley Bray (Anoka, Minn.) tallied two free throws seconds later, followed by another Amber Bray 3-pointer, that ultimately sealed the victory for DWU down the stretch.
DWU was led by Carr with 14 points and six rebounds, while Amber Bray tallied 12 points. Rylie Osthus (DeSmet, S.D.) added 11 points, eight assists and six rebounds. The Tiger shot 46 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc and 83 percent from the charity stripe.
The 53 points scored by Concordia was the lowest it scored this season. The Tigers held the Bulldogs to just 25 percent shooting from the field.
The Tigers welcome Northwestern College for a GPAC battle at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.