SIOUX CITY -- Dordt’s women’s basketball team faced a challenge with their star player in trouble Wednesday night.
Erika Feenstra played just seven minutes and 28 seconds in the first half. Selected Tuesday as NAIA Division II’s women’s basketball national player of the week, Feenstra had two personal fouls in the first quarter as the pace of the game went chaotic for both teams. She went to the bench after she was whistled with 7:31 left in the second quarter.
Someone else had to come through and among those were Rachel Evavold. A 6-foot-1 junior from Bloomington, Minnesota, Evavold finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead a balanced offense as the 15th-ranked Defenders overcame 13 first-half turnovers with a 76-55 Great Plains Athletic Conference victory over Briar Cliff Wednesday night at the Newman Flanagan Center.
Evavold scored eight points in the third quarter when Coach Bill Harmsen’s squad went on a 25-6 rampage, holding the Chargers to 2 of 17 field goal shooting. Feenstra added 14 points for Dordt (9-4, 4-3 GPAC) while Kenzie Bousema and Payton Harmsen tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“I think we really worked well together,” said Evavold. “(Feenstra) is a really good player for us, but when she had to come out, we really performed together well and put the ball in the hole.”
“I was really happy with our girls, really happy with a great team win,” said Harmsen, Dordt’s first-year head coach. “Isn’t that something when we can say (Feenstra) was held to ‘just’ 14? She had an incredible week last week, and tonight, she picked up quick fouls out on the perimeter, things that are bit out of character for her, but you have to credit Briar Cliff. She was in that spot and they attacked her, so that was good for us to see and good for us to learn.”
Feenstra, who averaged 9.7 points as a junior for the Harmsen-coached Western Christian girls basketball team that was the 2016 Class 2A state tournament runner-up, averaged 37.5 points while converting 28 of 35 field goal attempts as the Defenders split two GPAC games last week.
The nation’s leader with a 26.1 scoring average, the 6-foot Feenstra entered the Newman Flanagan Center with a streak of three straight games over 30 points, highlighted by a career-high 43 points in last Wednesday’s 91-84 at Northwestern.
Feenstra, who averaged 11.1 points as a freshman for the Defenders, has nine games this season with 20 or more points, seven which have led to Dordt wins. Guarded heavily by Chargers like Taylor Vasa, Madelyn Deitschler and Patricia Martinez Sanz, Feenstra took turns with Evavold in defensive chores against 6-2 Briar Cliff post Logan Ehlers, who was held to five points and five rebounds.
Incidentally, those three are among the GPAC’s leading rebounders. Ehlers went into the game tied with Northwestern’s Darbi Gustafson and Kassidy De Jong for first the league with a 8.22 average while Feenstra was fourth (8.18) and Evavold was fifth (7.46).
Feenstra shined in areas away from the basket in the third quarter as well. She picked off a pass in the Briar Cliff lane, fired a pass to Kenzie Bousema, whose assist on Payton Harmsen’s three-point basket produced a 45-34 lead.
Briar Cliff (5-5, 2-5 GPAC) lost its third straight game and fell for the sixth time in the last eight games after a 3-0 start to the season.
Taylor Wagner scored 12 points for Coach Mike Power’s Chargers, who shot just 25 percent. Faith
Troshynski added 10 points, which included 2 of 11 three-point shooting.
Both teams will continue Great Plains Athletic Conference action Saturday. Briar Cliff will play College of Saint Mary while Dordt will host 12th-ranked Hastings.