PHOTO GALLERY ONLINE BY EMILEE BERRY
Wednesday night saw the Raider women basketball team defeat the Dordt Defenders 71-67 in a thrilling contest between the two sides.
The intense clash was held at the Bultman Center, and fans both sides packed the facility to full capacity, creating an electric atmosphere for the players.
“We couldn’t look at what happened last time we played them,” junior Alli Dunkelberger said. “In the GPAC, everyone gives us their best game every night.”
The Raiders went into the break leading 34-33 after a first half that featured three lead changes and four ties.
The Raiders started the second half with real intent, showing their dominance early on and pulling ahead 57-48 with ten minutes remaining.
The Defenders weren’t going to go down easily though, and outscored the Raiders 9-2 over a three-minute stretch to keep the game within reach, making it an exciting two-point game.
A lay-up from sophomore Karen Hutson, who produced yet another outstanding performance on the night, extended the Raiders lead to 65-58 with 2:30 left to play.
After two free throws from junior Alli Dunkelberger, the Defenders again showed their resilience, scoring the next five points to once again make it a two-point game with just one minute left on the clock.
The Defenders replied quickly, scoring a lay-up and fouling the Raiders again. Senior Kendra De Jong converted her free throws, stretching the lead back to four with just 12 seconds remaining.
Dordt scored, and NW called timeout.
“Coach Yaw always tells us to play inside of ourselves,” Dunkelberger said. “He told us to stay calm and move the ball.”
The Raiders launched the ball up the court and Hutson scored a lay-up just as the buzzer sounded.
Dunkelberger and De Jong lead NW with 18 points each. Junior Kenzie Small had 14 points.
“We had good ball movement all game,” Dunkelberger said. “I had some good picks set for me that gave me open shots.”
The Raiders improved to 10-5 in the GPAC and 16-6 overall. They will play at 4 p.m. on Saturday against Concordia.