Perhaps it's time for the Dakota Athletic Conference to make some major noise in the NAIA Division II National Women's Basketball Tournament.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Perhaps it's time for the Dakota Athletic Conference to make some major noise in the NAIA Division II National Women's Basketball Tournament.
No. 11 Black Hills State, one of three DAC teams playing in the 12th staging of the national tournament in Sioux City, got off to a fast start in each half and eventually came away a 66-58 winner over Southern Oregon in the last of eight opening-round games Wednesday.
Kristi Ryan tossed in 12 points for the Yellow Jackets, who improved their overall record to 25-7 heading into a second-round game against Kansas Wesleyan at 8:45 p.m. Friday.
Brittany Fuhrman chipped in 10 points for Black Hills, which overcame 38-percent shooting and 29 turnovers.
No. 23 Southern Oregon, the ninth of 11 at-large teams, finished with a 25-7 overall mark. The Raiders finished third in the Cascade Conference and won 14 of their last 15 games before losing to league champion College of Idaho 89-87 in overtime in the conference tournament title game.
Rhiannon Dickison led the Raiders with 12 points, but she needed 16 shots to do it as the Raiders suffered through a 27-percent shooting night (19 of 71). The Raiders shot 5-for-26 from 3-point range and their big three, Dickison, Jacki Speer and Whitney Scott, were a combined 9-for-39 from the field.
"We knew they were a great team and play that real physical style," said Southern Oregon coach Lynn Kennedy. "We couldn't get it inside and that's where our main game is this year. We had 19 more shots than they did, we were aggressive on the offensive glass, but they just didn't go in."
Black Hills State, which finished runner-up to No. 5 Dickinson State in the DAC, reached the quarterfinals last season before losing to eventual champion Northwestern. This year, the Yellow Jackets would like to take it one step further.
"We've averaged 13 turnovers in the last six games, but I thought Southern Oregon did a good job," said Black Hills head coach Mark Nore, a 1997 Black Hills State graduate. "They took us out of a lot of things. We struggled all game with turnovers and then didn't shoot the ball well.
"I thought we defended them really well. Their big kid (Speer) had 22 double-doubles and (tonight) she had eight and eight."
Southern Oregon made the national tournament for the first time in five years last season, losing to St. Ambrose in the opening round. The Raiders were also first-round losers in 2002 and '03.
Black Hills State bolted to a 9-0 lead before settling for a 31-21 halftime lead, then Fuhrman hit two 3-pointers in the first minute of the second half.
Southern Oregon trailed by 17 points at the midway point of the second half, but trimmed the deficit to 65-58 in the final 20 seconds.
"You can't fault us, we came back and made it a game at the end," said Kennedy. "That just shows how hard we can play. These kids really worked hard."
SOUTHERN OREGON (58)
Whitney Scott 3-14 1-2 9, Emily Brookins 2-6 2-2 6, Ashley Baker 3-10 3-4 9, Rhiannon Dickison 3-16 5-6 12, Jacki Speer 3-9 2-4 8, Keri Nakamura 0-0 0-0 0, Krystal Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Carly Wood 3-6 0-0 8, Lindsey Scheffler 2-10 2-2 6. Totals 19-71 15-20 58.
BLACK HILLS STATE (66)
Janna Schriber 0-0 3-4 3, Brittany Fuhrman 3-9 2-2 10, Piggy Pili 0-1 0-0 0, Katelynn Lamb 1-9 2-5 4, Alana Dykhouse 1-2 0-0 2, Kristi Ryan 3-10 3-4 12, Keely Krolikowski 5-9 0-0 11, Tiffany Thomas 5-8 3-4 13, Savannah Dederick 2-3 4-5 8, Jenna Bolstad 0-1 3-5 3. Totals 20-52 20-29 66.
Halftime — Black Hills State 31, Southern Oregon 21. 3-point shots — Southern Oregon 5-26 (Scott 2-7, Brookins 0-3, Dickison 1-7, Wood 2-5, Scheffler 0-4). Black Hills State 6-19 (Fuhrman 2-6, Pili 0-1, Ryan 3-8, Krolikowski 1-3, Thomas 0-1). Rebounds — Southern Oregon 46 (Baker 12), Black Hills State 46 (Ryan 7, Thomas 7). Assists — Southern Oregon 2 (Smith), Black Hills State 3 (Three players with 1). Turnovers — Southern Oregon 23, Black Hills State 29. Total fouls — Southern Oregon 22, Black Hills State 19. Fouled out — None.
Barry Poe is a sports reporter for the Sioux City Journal