MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team received two bits of good news Tuesday afternoon.
The Tigers made it into the NAIA Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll for the first time nine seasons and junior forward Kim Johnson earned Great Plains Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Week honors for the second straight week. Johnson’s latest honor came after averaging 26.5 points and five rebounds in two games to help the Tigers improve to 8-2 overall and 2-1 in the GPAC.
Dakota Wesleyan made its first appearance in the polls since the 2003-04 season Tuesday. The Tigers received 45 votes and are second in the ‘Others Receiving Votes’ section of the poll. The last time the Tigers were ranked, they were No. 7 in the final poll of the 2003-04 season.
Concordia University held on to the No. 1 ranking with a 10-0 record and Morningside College moved up one spot to No. 3 despite losing to the Bulldogs this past weekend. Briar Cliff is fifth in the NAIA with a 10-0 record and Northwestern College held on at No. 8. Hastings College is still receiving votes after losing to DWU on Saturday.
Johnson earned her second weekly honor after leading the Tiger to a pair of wins last week, including a 22-point upset over then-No. 25 Hastings College. Johnson started the week by tying a career high with 30 points in a 95-84 win Wednesday against Dordt College. She went 11-for-15 from the field and 7-for-10 from the line and added five rebounds and four assists.
Saturday, Johnson capped off the week by scoring 23 points and pulling down five rebounds to help DWU to a 75-53 win against Hastings College, which was No. 25 in the NAIA at the time. The win boosted the Tigers’ record to 8-2, and marks DWU’s best start since it started the season 12-0 in 2003-04.
Johnson, a 5-foot-10 forward from Sioux Falls, S.D., is currently first in the GPAC and fourth in the NAIA in total scoring (212) and points per game (21.2). She is also 11th in the nation in field-goal percentage (.570) and is shooting .455 from three-point range.
Johnson and the Tigers are back in action Wednesday, Dec. 5, when they host No. 3 Morningside College at 6 p.m. at the Corn Palace. The Mustangs are 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the league and are coming off a loss to top-ranked Concordia University Saturday afternoon.