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No. 19 Blue Hawks use strong start, top Warriors

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

DICKINSON, N.D. – A strong start fueled Dickinson State University in a 91-57 win over the Waldorf College women’s basketball team during Tuesday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) matchup.

The Blue Hawks (9-2, 1-0) entered the night ranked No. 19 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II poll. They raced to a 32-14 lead at the end of the first quarter and owned a 44-25 halftime advantage, shooting 16-of-38 (42.1 percent) from the field and 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) from 3-point range in the opening half.

“We played a good team on their home floor,” Waldorf coach Katie Schutjer said. “They shot well, especially in the first half and we didn’t have an answer for it.”

With six players standing at 5-foot-10 or taller, Dickinson State exploited its size advantage to outscore the Warriors (1-10, 0-6) in the paint by a 26-16 margin.

“Their size bothered us a lot inside,” Schutjer said.

Senior Mackenzie Gott and junior Jamerka Martin led Waldorf with 13 points apiece while freshman Samantha Birkes scored 12 points. Gott collected a team-high eight rebounds.

Freshman Taylor Fricke and junior Molly Greenfield added six points each for the Warriors. Junior Miriah Carruth provided four points, six boards and a team-high six assists. Freshman Meriel Leavy contributed three points.

Ashley Bentz scored 15 points to lead a balanced attack for the Blue Hawks. Janniqua Thomas tallied 12 points while Megan Klein and Lorna Shepherd dropped in 11 points apiece. Klein, a 6-foot-1 center, ripped down a game-high 11 rebounds to power Dickinson State to a 55-38 advantage on the boards.

Waldorf committed 13 turnovers in the loss, nine of which came in the first half. After knocking down just one 3-pointer in the opening half, the Warriors settled in and went 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) behind the arc in the second half. They pulled to within 17 points midway through the third quarter, but that’s all the closer they would get.

“In the second half, it was good to see us shoot the three much better and also limit our turnovers,” Schutjer said.

The Blue Hawks turned the ball over 10 times and capitalized with a 22-6 advantage in points off turnovers. Sixteen offensive rebounds led to 17 second-chance points for Dickinson State, which limited Waldorf to three second-chance points.

For the game, the Blue Hawks shot 42.7 percent as they went 32-of-75 from the floor and 11-of-32 (34.4 percent) from 3-point land. The Warriors turned in a 22-of-67 (32.8-percent) effort from the field and finished 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) from the perimeter.

Dickinson State converted on 76.2 percent of its free-throw attempts, going 16-of-21 on the night. Waldorf went 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) at the charity stripe.

The Warriors step away from conference play on Friday as they host Ashford University (1-10) at 3 p.m.