In the opening round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament, presented by Riverside Technologies and Seaboard Triumph Foods, the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team shot past St. Francis University (Fla.), 97-66 Thursday at the Tyson Events Center.
The Tigers (29-5) began the game on a 6-0 run with easy layups and good ball movement. After the Bobcats (21-10) quickly ended the run, DWU went on another run highlighted by consecutive scoring possessions from Rylie Osthus (De Smet, S.D.) to finish off an 8-0 run.
St. Thomas began to answer the DWU baskets, but Kynedi Cheeseman (Alexandria, S.D.) and Sydney Halling (Harrisburg, S.D.) would end the Bobcat quick spurt with a layup and a long 3-pointer to push the lead to 22-9.
The Tigers opened up the second quarter with easy layups and solid open looks from the 3-point line. Down the stretch in the second quarter, DWU used suffocating defense to score efficient baskets on offense as DWU held a 49-23 lead at the intermission.
DWU came out in the second half continuing where the left off as Cheeseman made three-straight layups to put the Tigers up, 62-29 with 6:24 to play in the third quarter. The layups continued as Halling found fellow freshman Kaylee Kirk (Balaton, Minn.) for a fast-break layup to extend the lead to 64-29.
With under five minutes to play in the third quarter, Osthus drove through the lane and dished the ball back to Sarah Carr (Huron, S.D.), who nailed the 3-point basket. With under 30 seconds left in the third quarter, Cheeseman drove to the basket and banked her layup off the glass to put DWU up 85-41.
Minutes into the final stanza, Cheeseman found herself wide open from beyond the arc as she knocked down the 3-point shot. Rebecca Buchholz (Highmore, S.D.) drove to the free-throw line and missed on the midrange jumper, but Sam Schuh (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) grabbed the offensive rebound to help give the Tigers the first round victory.
Osthus fell one point shy of a career high as she led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. Cheeseman was not far behind as she finished with 22 points and six assists. The Tigers shot 49.3 percent from the field and 47.1 from 3-point range, while outrebounding the Bobcats, 54-35.
DWU takes on fourth seeded University of St. Francis (Ill.) at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Tyson Events Center.