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Trojans bow out of national tourney

By CHUCK LANDIS - clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

Taylor University’s 3-point shooting, so instrumental to its success this season, let the Trojans down Saturday evening when it was most needed.

The Trojans knocked down 4-of-18 from behind the arc and Dakota Wesleyan University capitalized for a 75-62 victory in the quarterfinals of the women’s basketball NAIA Division II National Championships in Sioux City, Iowa. Dakota Wesleyan is the reigning national champions and advance to Monday evening’s semifinals.

Taylor completed its most successful season in program history at 30-5 and ranked sixth in the final DII Top 25. Dakota Wesleyan moves on with a 31-5 record.

Entering the game a 37 percent 3-point shooting team, ranked fifth in DII, the Trojans finished at 22 percent behind the arc. It also was a tough night for Kendall Bradbury, the leading scorer in the country, and the senior center finished with 13 points that was 10 points below her average.

Dakota Wesleyan’s Riley Osthus sank a 3-pointer just 22 seconds into the game and it triggered a red-hot start. The Tigers rolled to a 19-2 advantage eight minutes into the game, and it continued to get worse for the Trojans who fell further behind 25-4 at the end of the first quarter.

The Trojans twice trailed by 26 points at 30-4 and 32-6 before they showed signs of life. Still, they trailed 37-17 at halftime and whittled just three points off the deficit in the third quarter, trailing 56-39 going into the final 10 minutes.

But the Trojans never could get closer than 10 points after two Becca Buchs free throws made it 59-49 with 7:01 to play.

Buchs led the Trojans with 17 points and Lacey Garrett had 12 points. Abby Buchs had four points one night after scoring 23 points in a second round victory over Corban (Oregon).

Osthus led Dakota Wesleyan with 23 points and was one of four players in double digits. Makaela Karst had 15 points, Madison Mathews 11 and Kynedi Cheeseman 10.

The Owls connected on 11-of-24 from 3-point range for 45 percent and outscored the Trojans 33-12 from behind the arc.

Taylor’s shooting woes extended to the free throw line where the Trojans had been ranked No. 2 in DII but made just 12-of-18 for 67 percent.

Seniors Bradbury, Garrett and Aubrey Wright played their final games for the Trojans.