MITCHELL, S.D. – In front of a packed Corn Palace on Senior Night the No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team put on a show and won their fifth-straight game to clinch second place in the Great Plains Athletic Conference with a victory over the (RV) Northwestern College Red Raiders, 81-72 on Wednesday night in Mitchell, S.D.
Up by four heading into the fourth quarter, the Tigers (24-4, 15-4 GPAC) began the final stanza on a 15-4 run highlighted by a 3-point shot by senior Kristin Sabers (Mitchell, S.D.) as DWU went up by 14 with under six minutes to go. However, the Red Raiders (18-10, 10-10 GPAC) clawed their way back into the game and cut the Tiger lead to four points with a minute remaining. Sabers answered with another shot from beyond the arc to extend the lead to 77-70 with 22 ticks left in the game. Free throws down the stretch sealed the victory for the Tigers.
Both teams started the game with a fast pace mentality as DWU jumped out to an early 9-6 lead following a pair of Rylie Osthus (De Smet, S.D.) free throws. Northwestern scored six unanswered points to regain the lead and finished the quarter with a 19-14 advantage.
Following a Red Raider 3-pointer midway through the second quarter, Northwestern took a 27-20 lead. Osthus answered with one of her own and a minute later, while Sabers nailed one from deep to give the Tigers a 30-29 lead.
Ashley Bray (Anoka, Minn.) began the third quarter with seven straight points to give the Tigers a 37-32 advantage. DWU found the right combination in the final quarter to extend their lead to 14 and supply the seniors with a victory in their final regular season contest in the Corn Palace.
Osthus finished with a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds. Sabers finished with 16 points while fellow senior Erica Herrold (Dimock, S.D.) knocked in eight points and snatched four rebounds. Ashley Bray finished with 12 points and three boards. The Tigers shot 40.6 percent from the field and 91.7 percent from the charity stripe.
The Tigers will hit the road to take on the College of Saint Mary for their final GPAC regular season contest at 2 p.m. Saturday in Omaha, Neb.