Jackrabbits show Bison who's boss in Summit women's basketball
South Dakota State running away with regular season title
FARGO — When South Dakota State needed to make a difference Saturday afternoon, the Jackrabbits focused on something other than shooting and scoring. They turned up the heat on defense.
It’s yet another reason why SDSU is running away from the rest of the Summit League women’s basketball teams. Not only that, the Jacks are on the verge of lapping the field after an 82-54 win over North Dakota State at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
“It’s really more about physical dominance in some situations than it is anything else,” said Bison head coach Jory Collins. “I thought it was a game mostly of physicality.”
That physicality moved SDSU to 13-0 in the league and 20-5 overall. The Bison remained in second place at 8-4 with the knowledge that they still have some work to do to catch SDSU in terms of strength and quickness.
Everybody in the Summit has work to do for that matter. The Jackrabbits beat the University of South Dakota by 59 points last week. There were no weaknesses on Saturday. Center Myah Selland went over 2,000 career points with four players scoring in double figures.
“Myah is just the complete package,” said SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston. “She’s just a wonderful person. Her family has been really connected. Great to see her get that accomplishment. I know we’re in the year of COVID but Myah has missed a lot of time, she’s probably played as much as most four-year players so to get to 2,000 points is really remarkable.”
Said Collins: “I mean, they have three fifth-year players out there who have played 400 and some games. That experience by itself is really valuable. They’re also big, strong players and you can see the maturity in them and how they look. Those kinds of things, you bump them; it feels different when you bump everybody else. That’s just the way it is.”
It’s the way it’s been for years. NDSU’s last win over the Jackrabbits was in 2015 and that was at Scheels Arena in south Fargo with the Sanford Health Athletic Complex undergoing a major renovation. Bison guard Brooke LeMar had 30 points to lead that effort.
In other words, the Bison needed to find somebody on Saturday to carry them. That was a tough task against an SDSU team that was bent on playing tough defense.
There was hope very early. NDSU turned in perhaps its best minute and a half against SDSU in the Division I era, sprinting to an 11-2 lead.
“We had a lot of juice to start the game,” said NDSU forward Emily Behnke. “But we had a couple of turnovers and they got some momentum out of that and it just kind of got away from us.
The second quarter was a near disaster for the Bison, who were outscored 18-3 with the Jacks closing the quarter on an 11-0 run to take a 36-26 halftime lead. The Jacks put the clamps on NDSU guards Heaven Hamling and Elle Evans, the team’s top scorers, on the perimeter.
“Our defense was really good in that second quarter,” Johnston said. “We got to the right shooters and tried to make some other people make some shots.
Any hope of springing an upset disappeared in the third quarter when guard Paige Meyer sparked a 13-3 burst in the first five minutes. That made it 51-31.
The last time the Jacks were challenged was a 68-61 win at Omaha in mid-January. Their last loss was to No. 1-ranked South Carolina in mid-December.
It took until midway through the fourth quarter before any Bison players reached double figures, which was Evans on a 3-pointer. NDSU finished hitting just 17 of 48 field goals for 35%. Rare was the open look.
“I thought our team was really stable and calm throughout the game,” Johnston said. “Played really hard, but that first run by North Dakota State didn’t really rattle us. I thought we stayed composed and just started to play better.”
SDSU 18 36 64 82
NDSU 23 26 39 54
SDSU (20-5, 13-0 Summit): Nelson 4-4 3-4 12, Burckhard 0-3 0-0 0, Selland 5-13 4-4 15, Gylten , Timmer 5-11 5-6 16, P. Meyer 5-5 4-4 15, Theisen 1-3 4-6 6, B. Meyer 4-7 3-4 11, Vlastuin 0-1 0-0 0, Colbeck 0-0 2-2 2, Byom 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 25-49 27-32.
NDSU (14-8, 8-4 Summit): Brown 2-9 2-4 8, Behnke 4-5 0-1 8, Hamling 2-7 2-2 8, Evans 4-10 1-1 11, Schulte 3-6 2-3 9, Ekofo Yomane 0-2 0-0 0, Graham 1-2 3-4 5, Draper 0-2 1-2 1, Novak 0-0 0-0 0, Hildebrandt 1-4 1-2 4, Baldwin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-48 12-19.
Total fouls: SDSU 19, NDSU 24. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: SDSU 36 (Theisen 10); NDSU 23 (Brown 7). 3-point goals: SDSU 5-12 (Selland 1-3, Gylten 1-1, Timmer 1-4, Vlastuin 0-1, P. Meyer 1-1, Nelson 1-1, Byom 0-1); NDSU 8-17 (Brown 2-4, Hamling 2-5, Schulte , Ekofo Yomane 0-1, Hildebrandt 1-2, Evans 2-3). Assists: SDSU 11 (Gylten, P. Meyer 3); NDSU 10 (Hamling 4). Turnovers: SDSU 19 (Burckhard 5); NDSU 23 (Schulte, Brown 4). A-1,722.