Jackrabbit women continue their superiority in series with NDSU, win by 21

FARGO-The National Girls and Women in Sports Day at North Dakota State on Thursday was a success, with about 250 participants. As the organization's website says, it's a celebration of extraordinary achievements.In the case of basketball in the R...
South Dakota State's Tylee Irwin, a Wahpeton (N.D.) High School graduate, drives to the basket against North Dakota State's Marina Fernandez Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at the Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO-The National Girls and Women in Sports Day at North Dakota State on Thursday was a success, with about 250 participants. As the organization's website says, it's a celebration of extraordinary achievements.

In the case of basketball in the Red River Valley on Thursday night, that would be South Dakota State.

The Jackrabbits maintained their supremacy in the series with NDSU at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. They were too much up and down the lineup in taking an 85-64 victory, NDSU's seventh loss in eight games.

The result further divided the Summit League into the haves and have-nots, with the leaders both from the state of South Dakota. SDSU moved to 7-1 in the conference to keep pace with first place and unbeaten South Dakota.

NDSU fell to 1-7 in the league and 8-14 overall in another learning experience. It was the seventh straight victory and 15th win in the last 16 in the series for the Jackrabbits, with the only Bison win in that span 83-78 in the 2014-15 season.

That's when NDSU guard Brooke LeMar lit the Jacks up for 30 points. On Thursday, the SDSU defense wasn't going to let that happen.

"They made us uncomfortable on the offensive end more than we've seen," said NDSU guard Sarah Jacobson, who led her team with 16 points.

SDSU has done that to several teams this season. For starters, not only do the Jackrabbits have the height, but they're also pretty quick. There are times they can put four players on the floor who are 6-foot or taller.

"I think we're pretty long and pretty athletic," said SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston. "Those are two good combinations as long as you play hard, talk and are on the same page."

It also makes up for any scoring droughts, which didn't happen very often against the Bison.

The Jackrabbits were somewhat cold from 3-point range in the first half, which is part of a recipe for an upset. They were 4 of 16 from beyond the arc in the first two quarters, but there was too much else to the SDSU lineup for the Bison to stay close.

The Jacks just took it to the basket for production.

It was 33-12 early in the second quarter before the Bison at least cut into the margin. Ten turnovers didn't help the NDSU cause in a 45-31 halftime deficit.

The Jacks didn't waste any time stretching the lead in the third quarter. A quick six straight made it a 20-point game. It was 62-36 halfway through the third frame, a 10 minutes in which the Jacks outscored NDSU 25-11.

"I think SDSU played with a great deal of confidence," said Bison head coach Maren Walseth. "They have senior and junior leadership and have that game experience. I think that is something we have at an inconsistent pace when you look at the minutes played by our younger players. It's something they're working through."

SDSU put five players in double figures led by forward Ellie Thompson with 17. The Jacks outrebounded the Bison 39-25 and won by 21 points despite getting just one bucket in the last 4½ minutes of the game.

"I thought we had a couple really good days of practice, and we were focused and energy-filled in the shootaround today," Walseth said. "But our lack of discipline and mental toughness to be able to take some pressure, take some adversity and being uncomfortable on the offensive end from the beginning disrupted both our offense and our defense."

SDSU 21 24 25 15-85

NDSU 10 21 11 22-64

SDSU (18-5, 7-1 Summit): Thompson 6-9 5-6 17, Alexander 5-10 0-0 13, Guebert 6-10 1-1 14, Miller 4-11 2-2 10, Larson 3-5 4-4 10, Jensen 1-4 0-0 2, Irwin 3-9 3-4 10, Palmer 2-4 1-2 7, Tracy 1-2 0-0 2, Bultsma 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 31-65 16-19 85.

NDSU (8-14, 1-7 Summit): Ogden 2-4 0-0 5, Nudell 2-6 1-1 5, R. Jacobson 4-10 4-4 12, S. Jacobson 5-10 4-6 16, Fernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Thunstedt 2-7 0-0 5, Kvilvang 3-6 1-2 8, Gaislerova 3-6 2-2 10, Dietz 1-1 1-2 3. Totals: 22-51 13-17 64.

Total fouls: SDSU 14, NDSU 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: SDSU 39 (Thompson, Alexander 8); NDSU 25 (S. Jacobson 7). 3-point goals: SDSU 7-25 (Thompson 0-1, Alexander 3-6, Guebert 1-5, Miller 0-1, Jensen 0-3, Irwin 1-4, Palmer 2-4, Tracy 0-1); NDSU 7-23 (Ogden 1-1, Nudell 0-3, S. Jacobson 2-5, Thunstedt 1-6, Kvilvang 1-2, Gaislerova 2-5). Assists: SDSU 16 (Miller, Jensen 3); NDSU 15 (R. Jacobson, S. Jacobson 4). Turnovers: SDSU 12 (Jensen 3); NDSU 16 (Fernandez 6). A-1,920.