Tiger women split at S.D. Tech Thanksgiving Classic

Amanda Hart from DWU.

Amanda Hart

Celeste Beck from DWU.

Celeste Beck

 Kim Johnson from DWU.

Kim Johnson

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team went 1-1 in a pair of nonconference games at the South Dakota Tech Thanksgiving Classic this weekend in Rapid City, S.D.

The Tigers defeated the University of Great Falls 79-55 Friday before falling 73-69 to host-school South Dakota Tech Saturday night. Great Falls is an NAIA Division I school. Dakota Wesleyan is now 6-2 overall heading into Great Plains Athletic Conference play.

Friday night, the Tigers led 10-0 and didn’t allow Great Falls (6-3) to score until the 13:44 mark of the first half. Dakota Wesleyan pushed its lead to 20, 24-4, with ten minutes gone from the half, and extended its lead to 26, 33-7, on a 3-pointer by Amanda Hart with 8:30 left in the first half.

Great Falls cut the gap to 15, 40-25, at halftime, and made it a 14-point game early in the second half, but that’s as close as it would get to the Tigers. DWU pushed its lead back to 20, 50-30, on a pair of free throws by Elizabeth Lamb with 13:28 left to play, and the Tigers maintained their lead throughout the game.

Kim Johnson finished with 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Dakota Wesleyan and Katie Johnson added 11 points. Hart finished with nine points and Lamb had four assists. The Tigers shot 50.8 percent from the field, hit eight 3-pointers and went 11-for-14 from the line. DWU out-rebounded UGF 38-29.

Mary Wilmore led Great Falls with 12 points and Sydnee Burke added 11 points. Lindsey Abramson had seven rebounds for Great Falls, which shot 38.5 percent from the field, went 8-for-13 from the line and had 20 rebounds.

Saturday, South Dakota Tech led early against the Tigers, but a three by Celeste Beck sparked a 14-4 DWU run that included long-range shots from Hart and Beck and ended with a 30-21 lead for the Tigers with 5:26 left in the half. Dakota Wesleyan extended its lead to 13 on another three by Beck, and later to 17, 43-26, on a three by Hart. The Tigers led 44-33 at halftime.

DWU extended its lead to 16, 51-35, with 18:56 left to play, but went on a 15-3 run to cut the lead to six, 56-50, with 11:44 left in the game. Beck hit another three to extend DWU’s lead to nine, and a 3-pointer by Lamb made it a 10-point game, 62-52, with 11:21 left to play. A pair of free throws by Shekela Quarles with just under 10 minutes left gave DWU an 11-point lead, but Tech responded with a 12-0 run to take a 65-64 lead with 3:32 left in the game.

The Tigers took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws by Lamb with 3:02 left to play, but the Hardrockers took a four-point lead on a three-point play by Katie Strandholm with 1:56 left to play. Hart hit a three to make it a one-point game, 70-69, with 1:49 to play, but Alexis Long converted a three-point play with 39 seconds left to seal the win.

Hart and Beck both finished with 17 points for the Tigers. Hart hit a season-high five threes and Beck added four. Johnson finished with 13 points and Lamb had nine points and seven rebounds. Brittany Hills finished with six assists for the Tigers, who shot 36.8 percent from the field and hit 10 threes. DWU went 17-for-21 from the line and had 39 rebounds and 24 turnovers.

Strandholm led all scorers with 25 points for Tech. Olivia Antilla added 14 points, Hillary Hawkins chipped in with 11 and Jessica Shull added 10. Strandholm also had seven rebounds for the Hardrockers, who shot 36.5 percent from the field, had five 3-pointers and went 22-for-31 from the line. Tech had 42 rebounds and 19 turnovers.

Dakota Wesleyan is back at home Wednesday, Nov. 28 when it hosts Dordt College in a GPAC game at 6 p.m. at the Corn Palace.