Jackrabbits stomp Aggies


Fouls and free throws marked the matinee but SDSU came out with a win.

Outside of a big orange ball and no helmets, SDSU’s 84-73 win over Utah State last Sunday looked a lot like a football game.

The two teams combined to commit 52 fouls and shoot 73 free throws in a very physical game.

“I would not have wanted to be an official in this game. There probably could have been a foul called every second pass, every shot, on the boards. Both teams were physical,” Utah State head coach Raegan Pebley said.

“It’s just hard when there’s that many fouls because I think you lose some of your intensity defensively. Your focus on the court is ‘don’t foul‘ rather than ‘defend’, and I think that changed things a little bit for us,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said.

A little bit of change wasn’t enough to keep the SDSU defense from dominating the first half, when they weren’t fouling, of course.

The Aggies didn’t record their first field goal until the 11:24 mark of the first half and shot just 15.8 percent from the floor. USU stayed in the game by being efficient at the foul line, making 35 of 40 free throws, 18 of 22 in the first half alone.

The SDSU offense scored early and often at the beginning of each half to put the Jacks up big. The Jackrabbits opened the game on an 18-2 scoring run which eventually led to a 39-24 halftime lead.

Amid all the whistles, Ashley Eide was all over the court and scored a team-high and career-high 27 points while also being the leading rebounder for the Jacks with eight boards. After the game, Johnston called Eide “a great player” who plays hard, which makes her fun to coach.

“She’s improved her game every single year. She’s a much more consistent shooter now, which is huge for her. She’s great at getting to the basket, she’s more under control, a much better passer. I just think Ashley’s going to keep getting better and better,” Johnston said.

One of the few negatives to Eide and SDSU’s performance was turnovers.

The Jacks turned the ball over 22 times and the Aggies were equally as sloppy, recording 20 turnovers. The source of SDSU’s high number of turnovers may have come from their strategy for the game.

“We just wanted to focus on being aggressive and being the attacking team,” Eide, who had eight turnovers herself, said. “We just needed to make plays on offense and be tough on defense … we just really wanted to be the aggressors.”

The Jacks gave USU all the defensive and offensive aggression they could handle down low. SDSU dominated in the lane, out-rebounding the Aggies 38-28 and outscoring USU 37-22 in the paint.

The aggression on defense did come at a small cost as Jennie Sunnarborg and Leah Dietel each fouled out in the final minutes of the game, but they weren’t missed much because SDSU held an 11-point advantage when each player committed their fifth foul.

Despite the fouls and turnovers, Johnston was pleased with the victory and what his team showed him over the first few weeks of the season.

“We just have a lot of toughness. That results in good defense, that results in good rebounding, that results in big plays and that’s what I’m most excited about,” Johnston said.

The Jacks now leave the friendly confines of Frost Arena for their first road contest. SDSU faces fellow mid-major power Middle Tennessee State Nov. 17 with tip-off at 7 p.m. before heading back home to play Washington State at 2 p.m. on Nov. 20.