SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Midland University’s women’s basketball was starting to become a mystery in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. No one was ever quite sure what to expect from the Warriors on a game-by-game basis.
On Saturday, they showed us all that there’s one thing that we can always count on them for: perseverance.
The Warriors (15-11, 10-10 GPAC) put recent shooting struggles behind them and managed to pull off a 71-64 road upset against the No. 12 Dordt College Defenders (19-9, 12-8 GPAC).
Despite 19 turnovers and zero points off turnovers (Dordt also had 19 giveaways), the Warriors found a way to fend off a late comeback attempt from the Defenders to notch their second road win over a ranked opponent this season (63-58 at No. 8 Morningside).
One big discrepancy in the team statistics is Midland’s 33-11 advantage in bench points, led by emerging freshman Lexis Haase.
Haase finished with a game-high 21 points, six rebounds, and three steals to help lift the Warriors to the upset victory. Freshman Sam Shepard came off the bench and helped Haase and the Warriors out, finishing with nine points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Senior Maddie Egr and junior Amanda Hansen finished in double figures with 16 and 12 points, respectively, combining to shoot a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line.
Dordt was led by Rachel Evavold’s 20 points on 8-14 shooting. The junior forward also added four assists, three rebounds, two steals, and a block to her final stat line. Annie Rhinesmith was the other Defender in double figures as she netted 15.
Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was Midland’s ability to make Erika Feenstra a non-factor. The nation’s second-leading scorer averages 22 points per game, but finished with just nine on Saturday, shooting just 2-4 from the field. It’s only the second time this season she’s been held to single-digit points.
In the first quarter, the game saw four ties as Dordt led for nearly the entire 10 minutes. Midland took a four-point lead midway through the second quarter on back-to-back three-pointers from Shepard, and the Warriors never relinquished the lead again.
Midland took a six-point lead into the locker room and then rode that momentum all the way through the third quarter, outscoring the Defenders 21-15 in the period to take a 12-point lead into the fourth.
Like good teams do, the Defenders didn’t go away without putting up a fight on their home floor. Dordt started the fourth quarter on a 14-4 run and crept to within two points of the lead.
The game went scoreless for nearly two minutes after the run, and with just over a minute left to play, a basket from Hansen put Midland back ahead by four.
After a missed three-pointer, Dordt was forced to begin fouling, and the Warriors put the game on ice, converting all eight of their free throw attempts in the final minute to hold on for the upset win. Midland shot 90.5 percent (19-21) from the line in the game.
The Warriors hadn’t been shooting the ball as well as they would have liked, and after a recent skid that led to them losing all votes on the coaches poll, this game gets them back on track to playing the type of basketball they know they’re capable of. Hopefully, this is a sign that Midland is prepared to peak at the right time.
Just two games remain for the Warriors in the regular season, and just one final road game awaits them on Wednesday when they travel to play the No. 24 Hastings College Broncos (16-11, 11-9 GPAC). Then-No. 12 Hastings beat Midland 70-65 in the season’s first meeting in Fremont on November 28. Tipoff for the rematch on February 13 is set for 6:00 p.m.
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Midland University’s men’s basketball team dropped its fifth consecutive conference game on Saturday after failing to keep pace on offense once again.
The Warriors (10-17, 5-13 GPAC) fell to the Dordt College Defenders (18-10, 10-8 GPAC) by a final score of 76-56 as the team faded down the stretch.
After taking an early lead, the Warriors traded baskets with the Defenders for much of the first half. Midland was 6-12 from three-point range in the first half while Dordt started cold and connected on just one long-range shot.
Midland held a two-point lead with just over seven minutes still to play in the half, but the Defenders didn’t allow their poor outside shooting to impact the game.
Dordt finished the half on an 18-4 run to take a 43-31 lead into the locker room. After playing solid basketball for 13 minutes, the Warriors weren’t able to stop the game from getting away from them.
The Defenders never let up after ending the second half on such a remarkable scoring run in a game that, until that point, didn’t seem to be trending toward a lopsided finish. Dordt slowly grew its lead in the second half as the margin rose to as high as 27 points before the Defenders finished off the 20-point conference victory.
Dordt was led in scoring by reserve Zach Bussard who finished with 18 points thanks to a perfect 7-7 showing from the field. The junior forward also grabbed seven rebounds and added two assists, one steal, and one block to his final stat line.
Other double-digit scorers for the Defenders included starters Garrett Franken, Josh VanLingen, and Chad Barkema who finished with 15, 13, and 11 points, respectively. VanLingen was a perfect 6-6 from the field and nearly recorded a double-double as he corralled nine rebounds on the afternoon.
Midland was led by senior forward Reggie Gradwell’s 15 points thanks to 5-10 shooting from three-point range. Freshman guard Dillon Faubel also finished in double figures and added five rebounds and two assists to his 10-point showing.
Junior forward Isaiah Workman got the start and netted eight points while adding six rebounds.
With the exception of three-point shooting, Dordt was better than Midland in nearly every category on Saturday. The Warriors turned the ball over 16 times compared to just nine giveaways for the Defenders and were outrebounded 44-32 (12-6 on the offensive glass).
Depth also continued to be an issue for the Warriors who seem to grow thinner and thinner each week. Without senior Luke Cadzow and Workman starting in his place, the Midland bench was outscored by Dordt’s 29-14. Freshman Malik Martin and sophomore Laurence Merritt each contributed six while freshman Emanuel Bryson added one basket.
With the GPAC Tournament still narrowly in reach, the Warriors have two more regular season games to try and make up ground on the Concordia Bulldogs for the eighth seed.
The Warriors play their final regular season road game on Wednesday, February 13th when they take on the Hastings College Broncos (17-11, 8-10 GPAC). Then-No. 19 Hastings defeated Midland 64-60 in the season’s first meeting back on November 28. Tipoff for the rematch is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. in Hastings, Nebraska.