By Leah Rado, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) Sports Information Director
MITCHELL, S.D. – The last time the Dakota Wesleyan University (S.D.) women’s basketball team beat Northwestern College (Iowa), the Red Raiders were ranked No. 3 in the NAIA and the unranked Tigers came away with an upset at the Corn Palace.
Five years later – almost to the day – Dakota Wesleyan did it again.
The Tiger women never trailed against the Red Raiders – who were, once again, ranked No. 3 in the nation – and led by as many as 27 points en route to an eventual 97-76 win against Northwestern in their final home game of the regular season at the Corn Palace.
Five players scored in double digits for Dakota Wesleyan, which improved to 17-11 overall and 9-9 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Tigers are in sixth with two conference games remaining. The loss was just the third of the season for Northwestern, which fell to third in the conference with a 22-3 overall mark and a 14-3 conference record.
DWU got off to a quick start, and led 8-2 less than four minutes in. Northwestern tied the game at 10, and again at 13, but that is the closest the Red Raiders would come to the lead for the remainder of the game. The Red Raiders got within one, 21-20, but Erica Herrold hit a three to spark a 17-8 run to put the Tigers up 10, 38-28, with four minutes left in the first half. Back-to-back threes by Amanda Hart made it an 11-point game with 2:19 left in the half, and was part of an 8-0 run to end the half for DWU and put the Tigers up 49-33 at the break.
Kim Johnson, Katie Johnson and Celeste Beck all scored to give DWU a 20-point lead, 55-35, with 18:27 left to play. The Tigers were able to maintain that lead, and a pair of baskets by Kim Johnson and a layup by Beck gave DWU its biggest lead of the game, 77-50, with 7:40 left in the game. Northwestern got within 18, but couldn’t get any closer in the game’s final minutes.
Beck finished with a game-high 20 points for the Tigers, who shot better than 55 percent from the field and went 7-for-17 from long range. Amanda Hart added 18 points and Katie Johnson had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kim Johnson finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Herrold chipped in with 12 points. DWU went 26-for-27 from the line, outrebounded the Red Raiders 43-35 and had 19 turnovers.
Karen Hutson led Northwestern with 17 points. Alli Engebretson added 13 points and five rebounds, Mackenzie Small finished with 11 points and Whitney Vander Maten had 10 points. The Red Raiders shot 41.7 percent from the field, went 10-for-19 from the line and had 14 turnovers.
DWU is on the road for its final two games of the regular season. The Tigers travel to Hastings, Neb., to take on No. 5 Hastings College at 2 p.m. The Tigers wrap up the regular season Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D.