SIOUX CITY, Iowa – In a physical and well matched NAIA DII Women's National Basketball Tournament game, it was Eastern Oregon University that came out on top, defeating the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team 83-75 at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Down by just four points at halftime, the No. 8-ranked Tigers gave it all they had in the third quarter, backed by a 13-0 run. Thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Ashley Bray (Anoka, Minn.) and Amber Bray (Anoka, Minn.) DWU was able to find a little breathing room, but No. 9-ranked Eastern Oregon had other plans as they marched into the fourth quarter on a 14-4 run. The Tigers didn't go down without a fight, pulling within four points, stemming from an Ashley Bray 3-pointer. But, a powerful defensive scheme proved to be enough for the Mountaineers as they brought the Tigers season to an end at 27-7.
"They were one of the biggest teams we have faced this year," Amber Bray said. "They are definitely the most aggressive offensively and defensively we have seen."
The Mountaineers pushed to an early eight-point lead in the middle of the quarter, however, DWU came within four at the start of the second quarter off an Amber Bray jumper. It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the second quarter, but the Tigers pulled within four at halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, the Tigers cruised to an eight-point lead, but EOU quickly scampered to a two-point lead at the end of the third.
Heading into the final quarter, DWU was down for the entire period, but came within four points multiple times. Ashley Bray hit a 3-pointer with 2:21 remaining in the game, but that was the closest DWU came in the final minutes.
Four Tigers finished with double-digit scoring, led by Ashley Bray with 22 points. She also tallied six rebounds and five assists. Amber Bray pitched in 14 points, while Rylie Osthus (De Smet, S.D.) added 13 points and five assists. Senior Kristin Sabers (Mitchell, S.D.) tallied 11 points as the Tiger shot 44 percent from the field and 73 percent from the charity stripe.
DWU graduates two seniors in Sabers and Erica Herrold (Dimock, S.D.) Both rank among DWU's 1,000-point scorers as Sabers finishes her career with 1,291 career points, tied for 11th-place on the DWU all-time scoring list, while Herrold moves into fifth place with 1,618 career points.
The Tigers return a plethora of talented players that saw action early in their career, including Osthus at the point guard position.
"I feel really good about our future, and hopefully this motivates our kids and get ready to work in the offseason," Head Coach Jason Christensen said.
For all upcoming news related to DWU women's basketball, head online to www.dwuathletics.com.