SDSU Salvages a Split on the Road

Sports Staff

There’s a very real chance that this one is the one that got away.

SDSU held a lead for most of the game against Oral Roberts before the Golden Eagles rallied to pull out a 71-65 win in Tulsa, Okla. on Jan. 7, knocking the Jackrabbits from their perch at the top of the conference and joining ORU at 5-1 in the league.

“We just lost our aggressiveness at the end of the game. We really, I thought, had the game and this one is going to sting for a while with our players,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said. It was the first time during the conference season that the Jackrabbits were out-rebounded by a Summit League opponent.

The Jackrabbits started the game on a 17-4 run and appeared ready to change their luck in Tulsa, where they have only won twice in their time in the Summit League. Once pushing the lead to 26-13, ORU rallied for a two-point lead at halftime, 29-27.

SDSU opened the second half with a similar burst to what occurred in the first frame, scoring 14 of the first 19 points of the period. The game went back and forth until the final minutes, when ORU’s Kevi Luper hit a jump shot and then stole the ball on the next Jacks’ possession and scored another layup to put the lead away again.

Jennie Sunnarborg tied a season-high 23 points and went a perfect 9-for-9 in the loss. Jill Young finished the game with 16 points on the strength of four made three-pointers. Jordan Pyle led ORU with 17 points.

“Their defense gives you pretty much whatever you want and we just lost our aggressiveness in finishing at the basket,” Johnston said.

SDSU 66, Southern Utah 50

SDSU was a wire-to-wire winner in Cedar City, Utah on Jan. 9, defeating Southern Utah in convincing fashion, 66-50.

Seniors Jennie Sunnarborg and Jill Young recorded 22 and 17 points respectively and the Jackrabbits never trailed the Thunderbirds on the way to their 10th win of the season. SDSU opened the game on a 11-0 run and was able to build a double-digit lead for the halftime break.

“We played very well. Of the forty minutes, you could find about eight where we let it down but at the end we really pulled away,” coach Aaron Johnston said.

Southern Utah turned the ball over 23 times but were able to pull within six points with just over eight minutes left in the game until SDSU’s defense tightened. SUU would hit one more field goal from there, with the Jacks scoring 14 of game’s final 18 points and sealing the Jacks’ eighth win in nine tries all-time against the Thunderbirds.

In addition to it being a senior-laden victory, Sunnarborg and Young are each nearing important honors in their careers. Sunnarborg now finds herself just 11 points from 1,000 in her SDSU career, while Young currently is the all-time career three point leader in the Summit League with 266. She will have to keep hitting them though, as IPFW’s Anne Boese is just one three-pointer behind with 265 in her career.