Women dominate UMKC

Drue Aman

Drue Aman

What is going on in the Summit League conference race this season? After losing to UMKC in Kansas City by three Jan. 11, a close re-match game between two teams separated by a half game in the standings seemed apparent in Brookings, but not this season.

SDSU (13-9, 9-3) had five different players score in double figures and shut down the outside shooting game of UMKC (11-11, 8-3) to win 76-47 in front of 2,378 fans in Frost Arena Feb. 6. The win vaults SDSU into sole possession of second place behind conference-leading Oral Roberts.

After setting a team record for field-goal percentage against Centenary Feb. 1, the Jacks responded by shooting one of 11 from the field for the first nine minutes of the game and trailed for the first 10 minutes of the first half. The teams combined for more turnovers than overall points the first 10 minutes of the game.

The Jacks were then energized by an unsurprising shooting night by Jill Young. The Mitchell native nailed three 3-pointers in the last four minutes of the half to take an eight-point lead; a lead they extended in the second half.

“We just talked a lot this week about how we need to play together and play as a team,” said Young, who also finished the game with six steals. “I think that takes pressure off individually knowing you have everyone else with you and fighting.”

The Jacks may have played their most team-oriented game of the season. All of the starting players only took between seven and 11 shots, and they scored between eight and 13 points.

For head coach Aaron Johnston, evenly divided scoring and timely scoring led to the 29-point margin of victory.

“Between our four perimeter players, they had 44 points. That’s a really good night,” said Johnston. “Jill finally kind of trusted herself and started to let some go there at the end of the first half, and I think that really made us feel more confident.”

With the win, the Jacks now face five of their last seven home games in Frost Arena with four of those games against conference opponents they have already beaten on the road.

“Toughness is something I’d like to think of ourselves as being good at, and at a game like this, toughness can help you win,” said Johnston.