Hard to handle

Marcus Traxler

Marcus Traxler

It was mostly all Jackrabbits in the stands; it was mostly all Jackrabbits on the court.

SDSU absorbed a slow start and ran away from North Dakota State en route to a 62-51 women’s quarterfinal victory in Sioux Falls on Sunday.

An imposing contingent of Jackrabbit fans made it difficult on NDSU and an even tougher defense kept the Bison off balance all afternoon. Abby Plucker, who had a big game against the Jackrabbits just eight days ago, was held to 10 points on 4 of 15 shooting.

“I don’t think we ever say we need to individually say we need to take somebody out. [Plucker] didn’t get as many good shots today and we talked about those ideas but we didn’t try to isolate her,” said Jackrabbit head coach Aaron Johnston.

The Jackrabbits trailed 13-6 four minutes into the game before finding another gear that hasn’t been seen often this year. That gear transpired to end the first half to the tune of a 33-9 SDSU run to take a 17 point lead into the locker room. SDSU kept things diversified, with nine of the 11 Jacks in the lineup scoring during the binge.

“I think it might have been nerves and we were a little tight. After those first five or six minutes, we played excellent defense and we forced a lot of tough shots,” Johnston said.

“We were just looking at it as a first game, a game that we had to win and whoever the team was we were going to play the same,” Jill Young said about playing a rival in a must-win environment. Young finished the game with 12 points.

On Sunday, no player stood out or stepped up more than Katie Lingle, who moved her tough mentality to the offensive end of the court and dominated the Bison front line. Lingle – who averaged six points during the regular season – had that in the first three and a half minutes and finished the game with 15 points.

“I was nervous but I kind of used that as nervous energy and my goal in this game was just to finish because in the last game I just struggled a little bit. I knew that [shots] we’re going to be there and it was good to get shots up and know they were going to go in,” Lingle said.

“We wanted to make a statement in this tournament and let people know that we’re SDSU, we’re here, we’re ready to play,” Lingle said.

NDSU pulled to within 11 points at 45-34 before the Jackrabbits rode the home crowd’s wave one more time with a 15-0 run over the next five minutes.

I thought we had really sharp execution and we got matchups we wanted and went at them. The goal will be to try to do that tomorrow,” Johnston said.

Tomorrow is the much anticipated meeting between the Jacks and IPFW, who will take the Arena floor Monday at 2:30 p.m.

“We’ve had a few teams talk about how they want to play SDSU in the tournament. There’s a lot of good teams in this tournament and we would like to think that we’re one of them but we’re not the only one. Fort Wayne has had a great year and has a lot of good players and we’ll have to be ready to go,” Johnston said.

#1.2067868:1294131174.jpg:Stephen Brua:Macie Michelson drives down the court in the first half Sunday. The Jacks beat NDSU 62-51 to remain undefeat in Summit League postseason play:Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua