La CROSSE, Wis. - The Dakota State University Lady T's basketball team faced the NAIA's 'Top 5' team for the second time this week Saturday afternoon in the second day of the NAIA Showcase, hosted by Viterbo (Wis.) University, at R.W. Beggs Senior Gymnasium. The Wildcats, No. 4 in the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' preseason poll, held off to defeat DSU by the score of 68-63.
Dakota State dropped their third straight game. The Lady T's overall record currently stands at 1-3. Indiana Wesleyan, which made to the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Tournament ten consecutive times, remained undefeated through three games - including a victory over No. 2 Northwestern (Iowa) on Friday night.
The Wildcats opened up with a 22-10 lead with seven minutes and 52 seconds remaining before halftime. The Lady T's answered back with an 18-4 scoring run to gain a 28-26 lead with two minutes left in the first-half.
Indiana Wesleyan closed the first-half with a 7-2 run to earn a 33-30 halftime lead.
DSU shot 54.5 percent (12-for-22) from the field, including 6-for-10 from the 3-point arc (60 percent) in the first twenty minutes of the game. The Wildcats were 40 percent from the field (12-for-30) and 1-for-3 from the 3-point line.
IW started the second-half with a 10-3 run to widen their lead at 43-33 with 16:47 remaining in the game.
The Lady T's rallied back to overtake the lead from the Wildcats at 46-45 (9:32 left in the game) with a 13-2 scoring run.
Leading at 60-58, Indiana Wesleyan extended their lead to seven points at 68-60 with 24 seconds left in the game. The Lady T's could not complete their rally as they closed the game with a 3-pointer from Alyson Drooger with 14 seconds remaining.
Courtney Hulstein poured in a game-high 20 points off the bench for the Lady T's. She was 7-for-10 from the field and drained four 3-pointers in five attempts. Katy Pillar added 15 points on her 7-for-10 shooting from the field. She recorded a double-double as she pulled down 11 rebounds. Yui Onodera and Drooger each had nine points. Courtney Hamblin and Onodera each dished out four assists.
Paige Smith recorded 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Indiana Wesleyan. Claire Ray added 15 points, stole the ball four times and earned eight rebounds. Val Sohasky had 10 points off the bench.
Dakota State shot 51.1 percent overall from the field (24-for-47) compared to the Wildcats' 46.3 percent (25-for-54). The Lady T's hit nine 3-pointers in 19 attempts (47.4 percent) while IW was 1-for-4 from the 3-point arc (25 percent).
Indiana Wesleyan was at the free-throw line 31 times, converting 17 free-throws (54.8 percent). DSU was 6-for-11 from the free-throw line (54.5 percent).
The Lady T's won the rebounding battle, recording 34 rebounds compared to IW 31 rebounds.
Dakota State looks to end their losing streak on Tuesday night as they return home at DSU Fieldhouse. The Lady T's host their long time in-state rival Dakota Wesleyan with a tip-off starting at 5:30 p.m.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director