SDSU?s fifth home loss ends in overtime

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerAssistant Sports Editor

Over and over again.

The inability to close out games has plagued the SDSU women’s basketball season all season and that weakness struck again on Jan. 22 as the Jackrabbits surrendered a late lead, allowing IPFW to escape Frost Arena with a 70-67 overtime victory.

The loss marks the fifth time where the Jackrabbits have lost a second-half lead in a defeat.

“It’s kinda the same old story. The last couple minutes of the game, we just kind of wither away and we don’t make plays, we don’t get defensive stops,” said SDSU’s Kristin Rotert.

This time, the Jacks held a five point lead with 3:23 left before the Mastodons rallied back, scoring seven in a row and took the lead with 36 seconds left on a Chelsey Jackson three pointer to make it 59-57. Rotert connected on a lob with Jennie Sunnarborg for a lay-in with 12 seconds left to tie the game at 59 and force the first extra session of the season for the Jacks.

Both sides traded baskets to open overtime but SDSU (8-11, 4-4) turned the ball over on three straight SDSU possessions and IPFW (12-5, 6-2) went six-of-six from the line late, never relinquishing the lead in overtime. Jordan Zuppe split a pair of free throws with eight seconds left, leaving the Jacks in a spot where they could tie the game but Steph Paluch’s last second heave went wide. The loss broke a six game winning streak in overtime games and SDSU lost their first conference home game since 1997.

“They just played well. We didn’t play well. They deserved to win,” Macie Michelson said.

SDSU started the first half strong leading by as much as eight in the first half with five minutes left in the half and IPFW head coach Chris Paul admitted that they were lucky it wasn’t worse. The Mastodons fought back and tied the game on a Kayla Drake three-pointer before halftime at 30.

IPFW stormed out of the break, scoring nine of the first 11 second-half points. The Mastodons stayed out in front until the Jackrabbits ran off eight points in a row, highlighted by Hannah Strop’s three-point bank shot to tie the game at 52 and Jill Young’s triple to give the Jacks their largest lead of the second half at 57-52.

“We just have to find a way to come out every night with the same kind of consistency and even if our offense isn’t playing like we want to, our defense should be able to keep us in the game,” Rotert said.

Drake led IPFW with a near triple-double with 27 points, 10 steals and eight rebounds, all career-highs.

Rotert and Macie Michelson paced the Jackrabbits with 15 points apiece. Jennie Sunnarborg added 14 points in the losing effort.

“We did somethings well defensively but for about 50 percent of the game we just didn’t anywhere close to the defensive intensity that we’ve been practicing with and seen,” Johnston said.

Despite the 42 percent from the field and 14-of-15 at the free throw stripe, SDSU turned the ball over 28 times in the Jackrabbits’ first loss ever to IPFW.

“Confidence comes from having success and we didn’t have enough success. They need to be able to win games to feel better,” Johnston said.

#1.1918881:886118999.png:wbb-ipfw-BRUA-006.png:Kristin Rotert goes for a shot against IPFW?s Jordan Zuppe in the Jackrabbits? 70-67 overtime loss.:Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua