DWU women see tourney run end at hands of Cumberlands

Mar. 22—SIOUX CITY, Iowa. — The Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team found itself in a feverish, up-and-down battle at the NAIA national tournament on Friday afternoon.

The seventh-seeded Tigers were game for the matchup, but No. 3-seeded University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) made 67% of its shots in the second half to pull away for an 87-80 win in the Round of 16 at the Tyson Events Center.

DWU's season ends at 22-11. Cumberlands (25-9) advances to the national quarterfinals on Saturday night, taking on No. 1 seed Campbellsville (Ky.) for the fourth time this season in the 16-team bracket quadrant final.

DWU led the game 43-34 at halftime, but the contest turned in the Patriots' favor in the third period, in which Cumberlands scored 31 points. The Patriots made 20 of 29 field goal attempts in the second half and all told, outscored DWU 53-37 in the final 20 minutes.

"The third quarter, they came out and got after us and we didn't handle it real well," DWU coach Jason Christensen said. "We had some silly mistakes. Nobody ever tries to make mistakes but with some of our youth, we just don't always do the little things right. We were missing some assignments defensively on a couple of sets and we probably gave up eight points right there, which could have changed the game."

Despite that, DWU led 76-71 with 5:43 left when Morgan Edelman made a layup. Cumberlands then rattled off seven points in a row for a 78-76 lead before DWU's Shalayne Nagel had a two-point basket with 3:28 left that tied the game at 78-all.

Moments later, she made a pair of free throws that put DWU ahead 80-79, but Channing Lewis made the go-ahead basket for the Patriots from the paint with 1:39 left to lead 81-80. The Tigers missed 3-pointers on their next two possessions and Kassie Monday and Kaylie Monday each made free throws in the final 27 seconds to stretch the lead to 85-80 and put it out of reach for the Tigers.

"We had four sets there, and we ran two where we were able to get our look," Christensen said of the offense late. "We had shot one rim out and one that ended up getting blocked, so we just didn't have the results we were looking for."

Nagel had 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting and six rebounds to lead the Tigers on the scoresheet. Rylee Rosenquist continued her strong NAIA tournament with 20 points and six rebounds, while Emma Yost had 15 points and six rebounds. Morgan Edelman and Taliyah Hayes each scored eight points. DWU assisted on 21 of its 29 field goals and outrebounded UC by a 41 to 36 margin.

"For us, it's a different player every night," Yost said. "That's what makes a team a team."

Cumberlands, which was ranked 15th nationally to end the regular season, had 21 points from Destiny Haworth, 18 points from Kassie Monday, 14 from Lewis and 13 points from Joy Kendrick. The Patriots were 16-for-20 on free throws in the game.

"They had 10 points off turnovers and 10 points on second chances, and we know that when we get to this point of the season, it's kind of hard to come back from that," Yost said.

DWU put together a 10-0 run in the second quarter, which was capped by an ejection of Cumberlands' 6-foot-4 forward Victory Fredricks after an official review. The play came after a loose ball on the floor that saw players from both teams go after the ball and DWU came up with it and called timeout. Christensen said Fredricks was ejected from the game for biting DWU's Rylee Rosenquist on the leg.

"Those reviews are up to the officials but we got the attention of an official and showed the bite marks on the leg," Christensen said. "I've never seen it before in my career. Usually you're reviewing those plays for an elbow or a punch but that will be one I will remember."

The postseason run came to an end for the Tigers on Friday, a season in which the Tigers earned 22 victories after a sixth-place Great Plains Athletic Conference preseason prediction prior to the season and was never ranked nationally in the top-25. DWU expects to bring back a large portion of its roster for next season.

"I knew we were going to be competitive. I like to think all of my teams are competitive, but I didn't know if it would result in the wins we had," Christensen said. "If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that we were going to win 22 games, I think I might have thought you were stretching it."

"Not a lot of people believed in us, and I think that was our fire," Yost said. "We believed in each other and we believed in our coaching staff and I think that's what got us here."

No. 3 Cumberlands (Ky.) 87, No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan 80

Dakota Wesleyan (22-11): Shalayne Nagel 7-9 5-5 21, Rylee Rosenquist 6-12 7-7 20, Emma Yost 7-23 1-2 15, Morgan Edelman 3-6 2-3 8, Mya Wilson 0-3 2-2 2, Taliyah Hayes 3-11 0-0 8, Maleighya Estes 3-6 0-0 6, Anna Campbell 0-2 0-0 0, Lacey Sprakel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-72 17-19 80.

Cumberlands (25-9): Destiny Haworth 9-16 0-0 21, Kassie Monday 4-8 9-11 18, Channing Lewis 6-11 2-2 14, Lakin Burke 4-5 1-1 9, Kaylie Monday 2-11 4-4 8, Joy Kendrick 6-10 0-2 13, LeeAnna McNulty 1-1 0-0 2, Victory Fredricks 1-2 0-0 2, Jaiden Cox 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Fultz 0-0 0-0 0, Amy Thompson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 33-64 16-20 87.

DWU 22 43 67 80

UC 20 34 65 87

3-point field goals: DWU 5-20 (Nagel 2-3, Hayes 2-5, Rosenquist 1-1, Yost 0-3, Wilson 0-3, Estes 0-2, Campbell 0-2, Edelman 0-1), UC 5-18 (Haworth 3-8, Kas. Monday 1-1, Kendrick 1-2, Kay. Monday 0-7). Rebounds: DWU 41 (Edelman 9, Nagel 6, Yost 6), UC 36 (Lewis 9, Kay. Monday 7). Assists: DWU 21 (Rosenquist 9), UC 14 (Kas. Monday 9). Steals: DWU 8 (Edelman 4), UC 7 (Lewis 3). Blocks: DWU 2 (Hayes), UC 8 (Lewis 3). Ejected: Fredricks. Fouled Out: Edelman. A — 1,210.