DSU prepared for tourney

The regular season is officially over and Dickinson State is gearing up for the postseason. Both the men's and women's teams will compete in the North Star Athletic Association conference tournaments and have been paired up with some opponents wi...

Ashley Bentz
Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State forward Ashley Bentz shoots against Mayville State on Jan. 21 at Scott Gymnasium.

The regular season is officially over and Dickinson State is gearing up for the postseason.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete in the North Star Athletic Association conference tournaments and have been paired up with some opponents with a little history.
The No. 4-seeded Blue Hawks travel to take on No. 3 seed Mayville State for the opening round of the women’s tournament at 6 p.m. today and they have been looking forward to this matchup.
“We are real excited to play Mayville again,” DSU sophomore center Megan Klein said. “We always split series (with them) so the third game is up in the air. It would have been nice to have it at home, but we just want to play Mayville again. We are all excited to have another matchup against them.”
The first time the two teams met on the court on Jan. 21 was a key highlight in DSU’s season. The Blue Hawks upset the then No. 23-ranked team in the country 75-59 to open NSAA play.
But the team couldn’t pull off the sweep against the Comets two weeks later. Mayville edged DSU 76-71 and freshman forward Andy Gayner scored 36 points and went 14 for 17 from the free-throw line.

Gayner, who is currently tied for third in the conference in scoring, will once again be a threat to the Blue Hawks. She is averaging 16.8 points per game and second to Klein (13.2 per game) in rebounds per game with 7.7. 

“We split with them in the season and played our best game of the year against them at home and that’s the best we looked all season,” DSU head coach Mark Graupe said. “At their place we didn’t play poorly, they just played well. (Gayner) went for 36 and we got to do something about that.”
Along with Gayner, the Comets are sharp shooters along the perimeter and No. 7 in the NAIA in 3-point shots made per game with an average of 8.58.
On DSU’s end, freshman forward Hailee Farstveet will play a major part not only in the team’s scoring but for the tempo of the game as well. She currently leads DSU in scoring (11.19), assists (3.22) and steals (1.48).
The Blue Hawks tended to ebb and flow throughout the season with big wins and rough losses. With a team as unpredictable and as dangerous as Mayville, DSU needs to play consistently to have a chance to move on in the tournament.
“The key to beating Mayville is playing a full 40 minutes and not have those lulls when we come down,” Farstveet said.
Searching for that win
The No. 5 seed Dickinson State men are hoping third time’s a charm against No. 2 seed Dakota State.
The Blue Hawks are still looking for their first win against the Trojans at 6 p.m. Thursday in Madison, S.D.
“We feel good, I think it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row and I don’t think we gave them near our best shot (Saturday),” Dickinson State junior guard Jake Gondrezick said. “We came out pretty lackadaisical, and we’re feeling pretty confident.”
The fate of the game can swing either way. Dakota State swept Dickinson State on the season - 70-68 and 75-64 - but depends on which Blue Hawk team shows up to play.
Dickinson State head coach Justin Wetzel had been preaching the importance of competition in all aspects of the game which has paid off for his team.
“We’ve been talking about this is how we do it here night in and night out,” he said. “We compete hard, we play to win night in and night out. We have to get back and do that for this upcoming week of the playoffs. We did not compete last week.”
Though Dickinson State sits at 3-7 in the conference, a majority of the games could have went either way and finished within a seven-point margin. During a five-game losing streak, DSU lost by a combined 24 points and in three overtimes.
The Trojans have put together a stellar season and finished as co-champions of the NSAA with the University of Jamestown. Overall, Dakota State is No. 2 in the conference in scoring defense (70.82), while senior Bryant Allen is one of the top players in the conference and is ranked third in scoring (16.9), 3-pointers per game (2.2), free-throw percentage (86) and fourth in steals (1.3).
“They instilled their will against us and we have to establish a bit of a presence and let them know they’re in a fight from the tip,” Wetzel said.

Curtis Redd
Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State junior guard Curtis Redd, right, goes up for a shot against the University of Jamestown on Feb. 14 at Scott Gymnasium.

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