Young’s surge leads balanced Jacks over Coyotes



For 20 minutes, USD had the Jackrabbits right where they wanted them.

In a quick reverse of fortune, SDSU turned a three-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead in a matter of minutes. The Jackrabbits pulled away and held on to defeat the Coyotes, 59-51, on Jan. 16 and they did it in front of 3,309 fans at Frost Arena.

Down 26-23 at the halftime break, eight points between Leah Dietel and Ashley Eide flipped the course of the game and the Jacks would not trail again in the game. The win makes it 17 straight wins for SDSU (12-7, 7-1 Summit) at home over USD, dating back to 1990.

The lead will swell to as much as 11 points for the Jacks and the Coyotes (10-6, 2-5 Summit) would score 15 of the next 23 points before—in the words of USD head coach Ryun Williams—it became Jill Young time down the stretch. With the Jackrabbits ahead three points with just under three minutes left, SDSU put the ball in the hands of Young and she hit a layup and a jumper to put the lead back at seven and out of reach.

“This was a big one for us and they are very good team and we definitely had to work our butts off in the final minutes,” Young said.

USD’s head man believed the difference was the start of the second half.

“The key period was the first five minutes of the second half and we responded but we just couldn’t get over that hump,” Williams said.

SDSU opened the game without a bucket from the field in the first five minutes and fell behind the Coyotes 8-1. The Jackrabbits would rally to tie the game at 12, with an 11-3 run, capped by two free throws by Eide. SDSU had 10 of its 11 active players score in the game, led by Young’s 11 points.

The Coyotes’ defense forced SDSU to take some unnecessary shots and the Jacks paid for it by shooting 2 of 10 from three-point territory. That changed in the second half when SDSU used its forwards to set more screens, according to SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston.

“In the second half we just tried to get more screens from our posts. In the first half, we took the shots that they wanted us to take, and in the second half … we got more of what we wanted,” Johnston said.

When USD needed a bucket, they went one of two routes, either their very quick guard Tempestt Wilson or senior forward Amber Hegge. Hegge scored 20 points and added 13 rebounds while Wilson made all four three-pointers for the Coyotes and scored 19 points.

“Both teams were playing hard and it just came down to whoever was making bigger shots,” Hegge said.

The Coyotes kept shooting but failed to get to the free throw line with the frequency they had in the first half, getting to the stripe just two times. To counter, SDSU shot 17 free throws in the second half and made 13, sealing their seventh conference win and staying alone in first place in the Summit League.

“I think in women’s basketball it’s so unique to have these kinds of games,” said Johnston. “This is so rare to have these games against North Dakota State and USD. We want to embrace them and it’s a big deal.”