WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Following a strong second quarter, the No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team flexed their muscles in a 74-51 victory over No. 12 University of St. Francis (Ill.) Friday in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The Tigers (15-1) found themselves down early, but Sarah Carr (Huron, S.D.) responded immediately with a layup as both teams were knotted up at two. St. Francis (9-4, 6-1) went on a 6-0 run to grab a 9-4 lead.
DWU put the slow start behind them as Madison Mathews (Draper, S.D.) scored a layup followed by two made free throws to cut the St. Francis lead to 10-8 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Tigers began to dominate the game as Carr evened the score at 10. Carr followed that with an easy layup, assisted by Kynedi Cheeseman (Alexandria, S.D.) and DWU was out in front 16-13.
Midway through the quarter, Rylie Osthus (De Smet, S.D.) found success down in the low post, scoring on back-to-back offensive possessions to push the Tiger lead to five points.
DWU would extend its' lead in the final 3:17 in the first half. The Tigers ended the half on an 8-0 run highlighted by six points from Cheeseman, and also great defense from Kaylee Kirk (Balaton, Minn.). Dakota Wesleyan went on to outscore the Fighting Saints 20-6 and would head into halftime leading 28-16.
The Tigers picked up right where they left off, scoring on four-straight possessions to open up the third quarter and went on a quick 12-5 run in the first four minutes of the half.
DWU would relentlessly add to their lead as Cheeseman found Mathews for a 3-point basket followed by a steal and layup from Sydney Halling (Harrisburg, S.D.) to extend the Tiger lead to 48-23.The Tigers would continue to use great ball movement and stifling defense to cruise to a 23-point victory.
Four players reached double-figures as Carr led all scorers with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Cheeseman and Mathews each tallied 13 points. Halling chipped in 12 points off the bench and grabbed six rebounds and Osthus notched nine points and five rebounds and also five assists. DWU shot 45 percent from the field while scoring 24 points off of 23 St. Francis turnovers. The Tigers outscored the Fighting Saints 44 to 18 in the paint.
DWU will return to conference play when they match up with No. 8 Morningside College at 6 p.m. on Jan. 2 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.