Drue AmanSports Editor
There have been considered “upsets” each year of the Summit League tournament in Sioux Falls, and this year’s version may well be Oakland’s dismantling 96-62 win over top-seeded Oral Roberts to begin semifinals play at the Arena.
The Golden Eagles shot just 31 percent and showed no signs of life in the worst margin of loss for a one seed in tournament history. Fourth-seeded Oakland had five players score in double figures and led virtually the entire way.
“This game is still surreal to me,” Golden Grizzlies head coach Beckie Francis said.
Kevi Luper, who entered the tournament among the league leaders in nearly every offensive stat in the Summit League, shot 22 times on her way to 24 points in Oral Roberts’ lopsided second round loss.
“All credit goes to Oakland,” Luper said. “They played awesome today.”
How big is Bigham?
Jaci Bigham suffered an ACL tear less than one month ago, but saw action in both games of ORU’s tournament. The sophomore guard played seven minutes in the loss, putting up only shot.
Upon her injury, buzz spread that the women’s bracket in the tournament had opened up considerably, with potentially inferior opponents having a greater chance at upsetting the conference-leading Golden Eagles.
Jacks escape winners
SDSU held the lead nearly all of 40 minutes in their 70-67 win. That tells little of how close the game felt though, with IPFW keeping in range and seemingly always on the verge of making a run.
The Jacks win comes with virtually no production from the inside tandem of Jennie Sunnarborg and Katie Lingle, who combined for only 10 points and eight fouls. IPFW head coach Chris Paul indicated how prominent stopping SDSU’s interior was in their gameplan, but guards Kristin Rotert and Macie Michelson picked up the slack.
“We put ourselves in a position to win in a very, very tough environment,” Paul said. “It just didn’t go our way down the stretch.”
Actually, IPFW had nearly everything go their way for about four minutes, clawing back from a 10-point deficit and coming within one-point after two Sydney Weinert free throws.
For the Jacks, Rotert was the lynchpin. Her 24 points – including six threes – maintained a Jacks edge on the scoreboard while Paul’s IPFW squad forced 16 SDSU turnovers and shot just as well as SDSU at 51 percent.
“It’s a big game to get us into another big game,” said Michelson, who turned in two key free throws with 11 seconds left to boost the Jacks lead back to three. IPFW would fail to get a shot off on the other end, clinching SDSU’s third berth in the Summit League championship.
The most head-turning team of the entire tournament may be Oakland’s women’s team. The Golden Grizzlies mystified the top-seeded Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts in a 96-62 win to begin semifinal play. That’s the biggest blowout of a one-seed in the history of the conference.
“There defense has been incredible, we’ve got to be ready to go,” Michelson said. “It’s going to be a tough game … a battle.”
#1.2074445:4281654698.jpg:Jill Young/Katie Lingle:Jill Young cheer from the bench in SDSU’s 70-67 win. The Jacks play Oakland in the championship game at 3 p.m. Tuesday.:Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua