ORANGE CITY, Iowa – In a tight defensive contest, the No. 1 Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team dropped its' first road game of the season to No. 3 Northwestern College, 69-54 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference top-five matchup Wednesday in the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa.
Northwestern (18-2, 12-2 GPAC) began the game converting on two straight baskets and jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. DWU (19-2, 12-2 GPAC) got on the board with a layup from Rylie Osthus (DeSmet, S.D.) to cut the Red Raider lead to 4-2.
Midway through the first quarter, both teams struggled to find a basket. But the Tigers got an answer from Sydney Halling (Harrisburg, S.D.) with an assist from Osthus.
Both teams began to find their offensive rhythm with minutes remaining in the first quarter. Madison Mathews (Draper, S.D.) drove the baseline with time running down on the quarter, and she converted on the layup to tie the game at 14 after 10 minutes of play.
Northwestern went cold from the field as they did not get a basket for over six minutes. The Tigers took advantage as they went on a 12-0 run to take a 20-14 lead. Moments later, the Red Raiders went on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 20.
Both teams traded baskets near the end of the first half, but with seconds remaining in the half, Kynedi Cheeseman (Alexandria, S.D.) nailed two free-throws to put DWU ahead at halftime, 29-28.
Osthus got the scoring going for the Tigers in the second half as she received a handoff from Sarah Carr (Huron, S.D.) and nailed a jump shot from the free-throw line. Midway through the third quarter, Carr was rewarded for her efforts with an offensive rebound and was fouled. She made the ensuing free throws to pull the Tigers within three points.
Moments later, Mathews found herself open from beyond the arc and nailed the 3-point shot to make it a two-point game. The Red Raiders held DWU within check throughout most of the remainder of the third quarter as Northwestern led 48-44 heading to the final stanza.
The Red Raiders hit a 3-pointer to begin the fourth period to take a 51-44 lead. Osthus answered on the following possession as she made a pair of free throws. On the next possession, Mathews dished the ball to Carr who hit a 3-point shot to make it 53-49.
Northwestern began to pull away as they made it an eight-point contest with five minutes to play. Tough defense down the stretch helped the Red Raiders hand the Tigers their second loss of the season.
Osthus led the way for the Tigers with 12 points, two rebounds and two assists, while Mathews tallied 11 points and three rebounds. Halling chipped in 11 points off the bench, as Carr added 10 points and four rebounds.
DWU stays on the road as they take on No. 21 Hastings College in a GPAC matchup at 2 p.m. Saturday in Hastings, Neb.