A relentless and determined effort on defense in the second half led the Northwestern women’s basketball team to a decisive 66-46 home win against Dakota Wesleyan in a conference match-up played Wednesday night at the Bultman Center.
Northwestern earned its third straight win, improving to 8-5 in the the GPAC, 8-8 overall; Dakota Wesleyan’s four-game win streak was snapped as the Tigers fall to 7-6 in the conference, 9-6 overall.
Trailing by four (35-31) early in the third quarter, Northwestern seized control of the game with a 16-0 run, holding Dakota Wesleyan scoreless for nearly seven minutes to take a 47-35 lead. Six different Raiders scored and the hosts forced DWU into six turnovers and seven consecutive missed shots during the run. A late three-pointer from Tigers guard Matti Reiner put the Northwestern lead at 47-38 by quarters end.
An Emilee Danner three-pointer on the first possession of the final quarter put Northwestern in front by double digits while a pair of free throws by Jada Cunningham finished off a 14-3 run extended the hosts lead to 20, 61-41, with six minutes to go. Head Coach Chris Yaw’s squad continued its stellar defense, holding Dakota Wesleyan to just two field goals during the final quarter.
Northwestern limited the Tigers to 24% shooting in the second half, holding DWU to a mere five made field goals in the final 20 minutes. The Raiders forced 21 turnovers, 14 in the second half.
Danner led the balanced Northwestern offense with 12 points, followed by Molly Schany with 11 points and four rebounds. Cunningham and Devyn Kemble added nine and eight points, respectively, while Taylor VanderVelde contributed six points and six assists.
Northwestern shot 52% in the second half, 42% for the game, and made 15-of-18 free throw attempts (83%).
Reiner pumped in a game-high 16 points to lead Dakota Wesleyan, making 3-of-6 three-pointers. Rynn Osthus scored 11 and pulled down six rebounds.
The game was tied 14-14 at the end of the first quarter and the visiting Tigers held their largest lead, 29-23, with 1:13 left in the first half. Northwestern was able to trim the lead in half, 30-27, by halftime on a jumper from Schany and a couple of free throws by Maddi Jones.
This was the first sweep of the regular season for the Raiders against DWU since 2015
Molly Schany has scored in double figures in 11 games, second most on the team
Emilee Danner has scored in double figures in five games this season
Maddi Jones, who leads the NAIA in assist / turnover ratio, has missed just two free throws all season (93%)
Devyn Kemble has made at least on three-pointer in every game this season