MITCHELL, S.D. – In a game that saw 29 combined steals, the No. 4 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team prevailed against No. 19 Morningside College, 88-75 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference quarterfinals Wednesday at the Corn Palace.
Both teams were slow to begin the game as there were six turnovers in the first two minutes as the Mustangs (19-12, 11-11 GPAC) held a 3-2 lead. Morningside took a 6-2 lead following a 3-point basket following the first 2:30 minutes of play.
Sarah Carr (Huron, S.D.) and Rylie Osthus (De Smet, S.D.) pulled the Tigers (27-4, 18-4 GPAC) even following a pair of layups. But, another 3-pointer by Morningside gave them a 9-6 lead. Carr was able to give DWU its' first lead of the game with two layups midway through the opening quarter.
After the Mustangs took a 16-14 lead, Madison Mathews (Draper, S.D.) found Osthus open from beyond the arc as she nailed a 3-point shot to return the lead to the Tigers. With less than a minute to play in the first period and DWU holding a one-point lead, Osthus hit another shot from deep to give the Tigers a 22-18 lead heading to the second quarter.
Morningside began the second stanza on an 11-0 run as they held the Tigers scoreless through the first four and a half minutes of play. But, DWU pulled within a point minutes later after Makaela Karst (Plankinton, S.D.) connected on a layup. Carr added a layup with less than a minute to go to give the Tigers a 36-34 lead at halftime.
The second half began with Morningside taking the lead on a 3-point basket. After a Carr jumper on the ensuing possession, the Mustangs regained the lead with a layup.
The layup began a 9-0 run by Morningside who took a 46-38 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. However, a 3-point play by Kynedi Cheeseman (Alexandria, S.D.) gave life to the Tiger offense. Over the following possessions, DWU strung together a 14-2 run that was capped off by a Carr layup, bringing the Corn Palace crowd to its' feet. The Tiger run was not enough as the score remained tied at 59 following the third quarter.
Osthus and Cheeseman began the final period with back-to-back 3-pointers, followed by a Carr layup to give DWU a 67-59 lead after two minutes of play.
But, the Mustangs would not go away as they pulled within two points two minutes later. Free throws by Carr and Karst carried DWU for the next three minutes as the Tigers pushed their lead back to eight points with under four minutes to play.
Free throws down the stretch helped the Tigers seal the victory as they finished the game 9-of-9 from the charity stripe, and shot 26-of-29 for the game from the free-throw line.
Carr finished a point shy of tying her career high as she posted a double-double with 37 points and 13 rebounds, while Osthus added 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Karst tallied 10 points and six rebounds, while Cheeseman and Mathews combined for 13 points.
The Tigers shot 41.4 percent from the field and held the Mustangs to just 33.8 percent shooting from the floor. DWU also forced Morningside into 22 turnovers, while finishing with 23 points off turnovers.
DWU takes on No. 2 Northwestern College in the GPAC semifinals at 3 p.m. Saturday in Orange City, Iowa.