WBB: DWU wins season opener

MITCHELL, S.D. – It was the seniors who led the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team to victory as they finished as the four leading scorers for DWU en route to a 72-58 victory over Valley City State University Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

It was Kynedi Cheeseman (Alexandria, S.D.) who picked up where she left off a season ago, as she nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to kickstart a Tiger 6-0 lead. Fellow senior Sarah Carr (Huron, S.D.) knocked down a midrange jump shot to give DWU an 8-5 lead moments later.

The Vikings (0-2) took their first lead of the game at 11-10 following a 3-pointer of their own. They built a six-point lead over six minutes into the first quarter, but that was all the larger their lead grew to.

Makaela Karst (Plankinton, S.D.) nailed a 3-point basket, followed by a Cheeseman 3-pointer to tie the game, forcing a Viking timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, the Tigers (1-0) did not slow down as Karst made another shot from downtown, followed by a layup from Kaylee Kirk (Balaton, Minn.). Cheeseman scored the final basket of the opening stanza with a 3-pointer, putting DWU up, 27-21.

The second quarter saw minimal scoring as both teams combined for 11 points in the period. Senior Jessica Mieras (Sioux Falls, S.D.) scored the opening basket of the quarter with a layup. Freshman Kelsey Valencia (Atwater, Calif.) helped extend the Tiger lead to double digits with a layup and a free throw after being fouled.

Midway through the quarter, Mieras knocked down another 3-point basket to push the advantage to 14 points. The lone bucket of the quarter for VCSU came with 3:40 to play in the half on a 3-pointer. The teams headed to their respective locker rooms at halftime with DWU leading, 35-24.

The second half opened with a barrage of baskets for the Tigers as Carr and Cheeseman combined for the first 10 DWU points of the half. With 12 second left in the third quarter, the Vikings made it a single-digit ballgame, 50-41, following a 3-pointer.

However, that was as close as VCSU got as the Tigers opened the final period on a 13-4 run to hold an 18-point lead. The Tigers never looked back as they won their season opener for the ninth-consecutive season.

Cheeseman led all scorers with 29 points and fell one 3-point basket away from tying the program record for most 3-pointers made in a game as she went 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Karst finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four steals. Carr chipped in 13 points and six rebounds, while Mieras came off the bench and notched seven points and six rebounds.

The Tigers play Dakota State University in the NAIA Sanford Pentagon Classic at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.