MITCHELL, S.D. – All five starters scored in double digits Wednesday night as the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team overcame a poor shooting night to defeat in-state rival Dakota State University 78-69 at the Corn Palace.
The Tigers shot just 35 percent from the field, but hit 23 free throws – including 16 in the first half – to help keep the Trojans at bay. Dakota Wesleyan (15-6) didn’t hit a field goal from the 14:21 mark when Amanda Hart hit a three until Elizabeth Lamb scored on a layup to tie the game at 21 with 6:20 left in the first half. In that time, however, the Tigers went 8-for-10 from the line to come back from a seven-point deficit.
After Lamb tied the game, Katie Johnson and celeste Beck scored to extend DWU’s run to 11-0 and put the Tigers up 25-21 with 4:44 left in the half. Dakota State took a brief lead on a three by Courtney Hamblin, but the Tigers ended the half on a 9-2 run to grab a 36-30 lead at the break.
A three by Lamb pushed DWU’s lead to nine, 41-32, early in the second half, but the Trojans cut the gap to four, 46-42, on a three-point play by Kylie Westover. A three by Julie Munson made it a three-point game with 11:55 left to play, but Kim Johnson scored and Brittany Hills hit a three as part of a 9-0 run to put Dakota Wesleyan up 12, 59-47, with 10 minutes left in the game.
The Trojans used a short run to make it a two-point game with just over six minutes left, but Celeste Beck and Hart hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put DWU back up by 10, and the Tigers were able to hold onto a lead the rest of the game.
Lamb finished with a team-high 15 points for Dakota Wesleyan and was one of five players in double digits. She also had six rebounds. Taylor Piper had 13 points and four assists, Kim Johnson had 13 points and six rebounds, Hart finished with 12 points and six rebounds and Hills added 11 points and four steals. The Tigers went 23-for-31 from the line, had 11 turnovers and out rebounded DSU 41-37.
Westover led all scorers with 17 points for DSU (5-10). Alyson Drooger added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Dakota State shot 48 percent from the field, went 14-for-19 from the line and had 24 turnovers.
Dakota Wesleyan is back at home Sunday, Jan. 20, when it hosts No. 2 Concordia University at 2 p.m.