Down big in the first half, the South Dakota School of Mines women’s basketball team showed continued resiliency, as the Lady Rockers rallied for a 73-69 win over Dakota Wesleyan Saturday at the King Center during the second day of the US Bank Thanksgiving Classic.
Trailing by almost 20 points at one point in the first half, the Lady Hardrockers, 4-2, were able to regroup and slowly cut away at the Tigers’ advantage.
Still trailing by 11 at the halftime break, the Lady Hardrockers put things together in the second half and outscored Dakota Wesleyan, 40-25. The Mines defense was solid in the final stanza, holding the Tigers to just 30 percent shooting from the field (7-of-23), while shooting 45 percent itself (14-of-31).
“This team has a lot of heart and there is just no quit in these girls,” said Lady Hardrockers head coach Barb Felderman, whose team won its third straight game. “DWU is a very good perimeter team, but once we were able to shut that down and play defense the momentum began to swing back to us.”
DWU shot 37 percent from the field hitting 21-of-57 shots, including 10 3-point goals while the Hardrockers connected on 23-of-63 shots for 37 percent.
Senior guard Katie Strandholm continued her strong start this season, as she was critical in the team’s comeback, with 25 points and seven rebounds. Strandholm was 9-of-13 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Freshman post Olivia Antilla came off the bench with another solid game, with 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior Hillary Hawkins added 11 points and five steals and freshman Jessica Shull put up 10 points and four steals.
The Lady Hardrockers held a slight 42-39 rebounding edge and had 13 steals. Mines forced 24 Dakota Wesleyan turnovers, scoring 15 points off of those miscues.
For Dakota Wesleyan, 6-2, Lexie Christensen and Amanda Hart led the way with 17 points each, while Kim Johnson added 13.
Mines will close out the Thanksgiving Classic with a 1 p.m. game against the University of Great Falls Sunday in the King Center.