By Rick Schmuecker, Doane (Neb.) Sports Information Director
CRETE, Neb. - The women's basketball team claimed a 69-68 win over NAIA DII No. 25 Dakota Wesleyan University (S.D.) on Saturday afternoon in Crete. The Tigers improve to 11-12 on the year and 5-10 in the GPAC. Dakota Wesleyan fell to 15-8 overall and 8-6 in the GPAC.
The game started with Doane (Neb.) holding early two-point leads with Dakota Wesleyan answering. DWU took their first lead, 9-6, following a three-point basket by Amanda Hart. Doane had trouble containing Hart in the first 20 minutes of play as she posted 21 of the team's points in the first half.
Doane battled back and retook the lead, 13-11 following baskets by Hannah Dostal, Hanah Barnard and Shelbi Bittinger. However, Hart put DWU back in front with another three-point basket, 14-13. It would mark the closest Doane would be until the second half as DWU built a 15-point lead in the first half and led 47-35 at the break. Barnard kept the Tigers in reach with 11 first half points and 3-of-6 shooting behind the arc.
DWU was able to get off to a good start in the second half and led 55-39 with 15 minutes left in the game. Doane tried to chip away at the lead and trailed by 13 points, 64-51, with six minutes remaining in the game.
Barnard then hit a three-point basket. And another. And another. And for good measure, a fourth three-point basket in a four minute stretch that pulled the Tigers within one point, 66-65. DWU picked up a pair of free throws from Celeste Beck to go back up by three points with 2:02 remaining but it would be their final points of the game. Doane got to the free throw line on back-to-back possessions and Bittinger and Barnard hit all four to take the one-point lead. DWU's final 15-foot jumper came off the back iron and Doane held on for the victory.
Barnard finished with a career-high 25 points, hitting 7-of-11 from behind the arc. Heather Broman added 19 points and Bittinger finished with 13 for Doane. Dostal posted 12 rebounds and five steals. The Tigers shot 39-percent from the floor for the game but 39-percent behind the arc and 73-percent at the free throw line.
DWU was led by Hart with 23 points as Doane was able to hold her to one basket in the second half. Kim Johnson posted 15 points and Beck added 14 points, five assists and three steals. DWU shot 43-percent for the game but was held to 30-percent in the second half from the floor and 0-of-8 from behind the arc.
The Tigers' road doesn't get any easier as they will play host to GPAC first place and NAIA D2 No. 7 Hastings College on February 5 at 6 PM in Crete. The game is the third of five straight GPAC meetings against Top 25 opponents. DWU will take on No. 10 Morningside on February 3 in a make-up game from earlier this year that was postponed due to weather.