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DSU builds 3-game win streak after knocking off Wildcats

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State senior Mariah Duran, left, goes up for a shot against a Johnson and Wales (Colo.) defender on Friday at Scott Gymnasium.

There’s a Dickinson State sports team on a win streak.

The Blue Hawks opened the weekend series against Johnson and Wales (Colo.) with a 77-72 win at Scott Gymnasium and extended its win streak to three games.

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But the Wildcats didn’t make it easy.

The Blue Hawks opened the first half slow, not being able to make many shots. Johnson and Wales, on the other hand, led by six points four minutes in. DSU was able to find its rhythm and tied the game with 12 minutes left and took the lead with nine to go.

Freshman forward Hannah Beede came off the bench and scored 10 points, including a buzzer-beating shot to make DSU’s lead 45-32 at halftime.

With nine minutes left in the second half, the Wildcats made a significant comeback and went on a 22-8 run. Johnson and Wales went 9 for 31 for 3-point range and made 4 of 10 in the second half. The Wildcats 3-point proficiency is something DSU head coach Mark Graupe said his team knew going into the game.

“It was a big time struggle,” Graupe said. “Our scouting report said all they do is shoot 3’s or just drive with their heads down and I was really afraid of that … we struggled with that tonight and they gave us fits.”

DSU tied the game at 56-56 on a Dawne Degel 3-pointer. Degel, a senior guard, again drove down the court for the layup, missed and senior forward Jess Bygate was there for the putback, which put the Blue Hawks up for good. Bygate finished her first double-double of the season with 15 rebounds and 14 points.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Johnson and Wales head coach Jess Neal said. “I don’t think we gave great energy in the first half. We did a great job coming back, but couldn’t sustain down the stretch. I’m really proud of them but we need to play both halves next time.”

Four Blue Hawks finished with double digit points. Sophomore guard TaRicka Linzy led her team with 18 points, making nine of 10 free throws, followed by senior guard Mariah Duran with 15 and Beede added 12. The team dominated in rebounds, racking up 61 total compared to the Wildcats’ 38.

“We got some good shots and shot selection in the first half and then probably took a little longer to adjust to what they’re doing the second half, which allowed them to come back a little bit,” Bygate said. “We know what they’re going to do now and ready to go and beat them by a lot more tomorrow.”

Sophomore guard Amanda Weber led the Wildcats with 19 points, followed by senior guard Kourtney Shirley with 18. Sophomore forward Kristen Ward and senior guard Tameka Manning each scored 11. The team made 80 percent of its free throws, but struggled overall with shooting, just completing 20 of 61 shots.

The two teams meet again at 2 p.m. today as DSU hopes to get the sweep and extend its win streak to four. Now knowing what Johnson and Wales is capable of doing and catching up when down, Duran said the keys to another win are controlling the Wildcat’s ability to drive the ball and, where they are the most dangerous, shut down their chances for threes.

“If we can contain the drive they won’t be able to kick out and hit those threes so I think containing the drive is huge and just not panicking when things get changed up,” Duran said. “Just having composure when they change things, just relax, do it and we’ll be fine.”

JOHNSON AND WALES (1-2): Kristen Ward 4-15 2-2 11, Tori Curneed 1-8 0-0 3, Amanda Weber 5-9 4-4 19 Kourtney Shirley 4-11 9-12 18, Bailey Ford 2-2 1-2 5, Tameka Manning 3-13 4-4 11, Alex Courtney 1-3 3-4 5. Totals: 20-61 23-28 72.

DICKINSON STATE (3-1): Ashley Kennedy 0-3 1-2 1, Jess Bygate 6-15 2-4 14, Dawne Degel 4-16 0-1 9, Mariah Duran 4-9 3-4 15, TaRicka Linzy 3-17 9-10 18, Alyssa Hildebrand 0-3 0-0 0, Rachael McDonough0-2 2-2 2, Hannah Beede 6-9, 0-0 12, Porsha Wadsworth 2-4 0-0 4, Jalyn Klauzer 0-2 2-4 2. Totals: 25-80 19-27 77.

Halftime: 45-32. Total fouls: JW 22, DSU 24. Fouled out: DSU, Kennedy. 3-point goals: JW 9-31 (Ward 1-4, Curneen 1-6, Weber 5-8, Shirley 1-7, Manning 1-6), DSU 8-26 (Bygate 0-1, degel 1-6, Duran 4-9, Linzy 3-6, Hildebrand 0-2, Mcdonough 0-1, Beede 0-1). Rebounds: JW 38 (Weber, Shirley 7), DSU 61 (Bygate 15). Assists: JW 10 (Shirley 5), DSU 15 (Degel, Linzy 4). Steals: JW 12 (Weber, Shirley 2), DSU 7 (Degel, Linzy, McDonough 1). Blocks: JW none, DSU 1 (Bygate 1). Turnovers: JW 11 (Curneen 3), DSU 15 (Degel 4).

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.