SIOUX CITY, Iowa—The undefeated season came to an end in the national quarterfinal for the second year in a row.
Dakota Wesleyan connected on a season-high 15 3-pointers to come away with a 78-64 victory over Southeastern and advance to Monday’s semifinal.
The Tigers (30-6) shot 42% from the field, and 44% from 3-point range, making 10 of their 18 second half 3-point attempts.
“When a team hits 15 3’s on you, it’s a tremendous effort on their part,” said coach Tim Hays. “It was a great battle and they got the best of us today with a great effort on their part.”
A jumper by Anissa Toumi with 2:03 left in the first quarter tied the game at 14. DWU then went on an 11-0 run spanning 4:06, and resulted in SEU facing its biggest deficit of the season of 11 with 7:57 left in the second quarter.
During the run, the Fire (31-1) were 0-for-3 from the field, and committed five of their 16 turnovers on the night.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a physical battle inside and outside” said Hays. “We’ve worked through it in the past, but if your passes are off and you don’t hit your shots early, and they come down and knock down their shots, it can snowball quickly.”
With 3:33 to play in the half, the Fire trailed by 17 following one of Kynedi Cheesman’s four 3-pointers in the game. But, the Fire closed the half on a 7-0 run to cut the halftime deficit to 10 (35-25).
Southeastern got as close as six, following a Jaycee Coe 3-pointer with 1:47 left in the third, but Ashley Brey, who connected on eight triples in her 30 minutes of play and Cheeseman quickly stretched the lead back to 12 within a minute, and never looked back.
Bray finished with a game-high 26 points to go along with six rebounds.
Ana Richter was one of four Fire players in double-figures, posting a team-best 12 points, and added four boards and three assists. She finished the tournament 19-of-22 from the field, and posted 52 total points in three games.
Coe added 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Halee Printz also had 11 with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Marlena Schmidt finished a rebound short of a double-double, with 10 points, nine boards, an assist, and two blocks. The sophomore totaled 15 blocks in three games.
“You’re bound to have a bad night, and we did not for 31-straight games,” reflected Hays. “Even when we did, our girls found a way to dig in and get the win.
“That’s a testament to these girls and to what they’ve given and how much they love each other and played for each other this year.”