For the third time in three seasons, the No. 4 Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team and No. 1 Concordia University met in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championship Game, as Concordia defeated DWU, 75-63 Tuesday in Seward, Neb.
The Tigers (28-5, 28-4 GPAC) wasted no time offensively as Sarah Carr (Huron, S.D.) started the game with a layup. Moments later, Madison Mathews (Draper, S.D.) connected on a 3-point shot to grab a 5-3 lead.
After both teams traded baskets, the Bulldogs (30-3, 19-3 GPAC) went on a 15-2 run, forcing a DWU timeout. After the timeout, Carr notched two free throws to end the run. Moments later, Kynedi Cheeseman (Alexandria, S.D.) split the double team for an easy layup to pull the Tigers within five points.
After the Bulldogs made a 3-pointer, Sydney Halling (Harrisburg, S.D.) drilled a 3-point shot from the top of the key to make the score 27-23 in favor of Concordia.
DWU received another 3-point basket, this time from Mathews to pull within five, 31-26. The Bulldogs then went on a quick 6-0 spurt to push their lead to 37-26.
With three minutes to play in the half, the Tigers caught momentum after a Carr put back, as well as a Bulldog offensive foul. After another defensive stop, Makaela Karst(Plankinton, S.D.) scored her first points of the game on an easy layup. But, the Bulldogs were able to hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put Concordia up 42-32 at halftime.
Carr kicked off the second-half scoring with a layup to pull DWU within single digits. On the ensuing offensive possession, Cheeseman drove to the basket and added a layup.
With six minutes left in the third quarter, Halling found Carr cutting to the basket for an easy layup to make the score 48-43 in the favor of the Bulldogs.
Moments later, Osthus nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to bring DWU within two points. Following a pair of Cheeseman free throws, Carr dished the ball to Karst who made the layup and was fouled. She made the free throw to put the Tigers up, 51-50.
Osthus made two free throws near the end of the third quarter to bring DWU within two points, 55-53. Carr opened the fourth quarter with a layup to keep the Tigers in striking distance, 58-55.
With seven minutes to play, Cheeseman found Osthus open under the basket for a wide-open layup. Two possessions later, Kaylee Kirk (Balaton, Minn.) pump faked her defender as she drove to the baseline and knocked down the midrange jumper.
The Bulldogs strung together a run midway through the final quarter as they led by eight points with 2:30 left to play. Concordia used the 10-0 run to pull away down the stretch and come away with the victory.
Carr led the Tigers with 18 points and four rebounds, as Osthus added 12 points and six rebounds. Mathews chipped in 11 points and six boards, as Cheeseman notched eight points and 10 rebounds. DWU forced 16 turnovers and finished with 17 assists.
The Tigers await their pairing for the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championships as they are announced Wednesday at 6 p.m.