Tiger women fall to top-ranked Concordia

Kim Johnson from DWU.

Kim Johnson

Celeste Beck from DWU.

Celeste Beck

SEWARD, Neb. – With 10:48 left to play, the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team was within three points of the No. 1 team in the NAIA. But Concordia University showed why it is the unanimous No. 1 in the nation by using a 16-2 run to pull away for an eventual 78-58 win over the Tigers Saturday in Seward, Neb.

The loss was the second of the week against a top-three team for DWU, which lost to No. 3 Morningside College Wednesday. The Tigers are now 8-4 overall and 2-3 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

Concordia (12-0, 6-0) led by 13, 42-29, at halftime, and extended its lead to 16 early in the second half. But the Tigers went on an 11-2 run that cut the gap to seven, 47-40, with 12:44 left to play. The Bulldogs made it a seven-point game again a minute later, but Kim Jonson hit a pair of free throws and Taylor Piper hit a jumper to make it a three-point game, 49-46, with 10:48 to play.

From there, the Bulldogs went on a 16-2 run to push their lead back to 17, 65-48, with 6:23 remaining, and pushed their lead to 20 a few minutes later on a 3-pointer by Kristen Conahan.

Concordia took advantage of early DWU turnovers to jump to a 6-2 lead, but Johnson scored seven points and hit a three to put the Tigers up 7-6 with 17:20 left in the first half. Concordia took the lead back, but never got ahead by more than four points until a free throw by Jericca Pearson made it 18-13 with 10:21 to play. The Bulldogs were able to extend their lead to double digits before the Tigers went on a run in the second half.

Johnson finished with a game-high 22 points for the Tigers and she also had six rebounds. Celeste Beck added 11 points despite sitting out much of the first half with two quick fouls. Brittany Hills finished with eight pounds, seven assists and six rebounds. DWU shot 43 percent from the field but went just 4-for-19 from long range. The Tigers went 12-for-16 from the line and had 33 rebounds and 29 turnovers.

Conahan led Concordia with 18 points and Bailey Morris added 15. Lori Laboda had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who shot 38 percent from the field, went 10-for-22 from three-point range and 18-for-23 from the line. Concordia – which was held well below its season scoring average of 92 points per game – had 43 rebounds and 21 turnovers.

The Tigers are back on the road Wednesday, Dec. 12, when they travel to Yankton, S.D., to take on Mount Marty College.