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Tiger women outlast Northwestern for home GPAC win

Jan. 24—MITCHELL — It was a college basketball game without much flow or rhythm on Wednesday night at the Corn Palace.

But Dakota Wesleyan's women's basketball team made it comfortable to get a win, as the Tigers led the entire way in a 70-61 win over Northwestern in a Great Plains Athletic Conference contest on Wednesday night.

It was a game that saw 50 fouls and 55 free throws, just five made 3-pointers and 48 points scored total in the fourth quarter but DWU coach Jason Christensen said he was pleased to see the Tigers get the victory to the finish line. It is DWU's 12th consecutive home win at the Corn Palace.

"It was just a weird game," Christensen said. "It was just tough to get in a flow and when that happens, you have to battle some adversity. We had a lot of foul trouble and had to put players in different positions. A young team like ours, you're going to have peaks and valleys and I really think we matured in a big way tonight."

After DWU led by as many as 15 points late in the third quarter, Northwestern got to within eight points with 4:52 remaining. NWC never eked closer, thanks in large part to the efforts of Morgan Edelman and Isabel Ihnen, who teammed up to score nine key points in the middle of the fourth quarter and keep the game away from the Red Raiders.

The first meeting between the two teams in December included DWU leading by eight points with 6:20 remaining before NWC came back to win and DWU was committed to not let that happen again on Wednesday.

"Especially at the end, we knew we just had to take it at them and attack," Edelman said. "We had a lot of free throws that came from being aggressive. We took it to the rim and made our free throws late to get the win. ... Coach said we just had to take it at them."

Taliyah Hayes led the Tigers with 15 points, with 14 points from Emma Yost and 13 points each from Edelman and Ihnen in a balanced manner. Shalayne Nagel added nine points and in all, the starters accounted for 64 of the 70 points for the Tigers.

Edelman led the Tiger with 10 rebounds and Nagel had eight boards. DWU won the rebounding battle 36-28, which included 14 offensive rebounds. Northwestern finished with a 40-26 edge for points in the paint.

DWU (14-5, 9-4 GPAC) finished 20-for-28 on free throws, including 14-for-18 in the second half. For the game, DWU's starters were 18-for-20 on free throws.

"We didn't miss many in the second half," Christensen said. "We talked at halftime about how we knew it was going to be important to make those free throws and I think we did a nice job with that as a team."

The Tigers defense started the game sharp, holding the Red Raiders without any points for nearly seven minutes and to 2-for-10 shooting in the first quarter for an 18-9 Tiger lead after the opening period. DWU's lead was at 14 points late in the first half before Northwestern trimmed down the lead to seven points at intermission on the strength of an 8-for-13 shooting effort in the second quarter.

Northwestern's 6-foot-1 center Molly Schany logged 18 points to lead the way for the Red Raiders, while Hali Anderson had 17 points. NWC (11-8, 7-6 GPAC) shot nearly 49% from the field but was 1-for-7 on 3-pointers and 16-for-27 at the free-throw stripe. The Tigers forced 11 turnovers in the first half, converting those plays into 11 points.

DWU, which remained in third place in the GPAC standings with the win, is back home on Sunday, Jan. 28 for a home matchup against Midland. The doubleheader tips off at 2 p.m. at the Palace.