Jacks win over Oakland 66-59 on Jan. 23

Drue Aman

Drue Aman

Good ball management, effective rebounding, aggressive defense and a career night for Jennie Sunnarborg were keys in SDSU’s 66-59 win over Oakland before a season-high 3,124 people in attendance at Frost Arena Jan. 23.

Sunnarborg displayed prowess both offensively and defensively, shooting an economical eight of 12 from the field for 20 points while also accounting for 11 rebounds and four blocks defensively.

Jacks coach Aaron Johnston lauded her play.

“She’s got really good hands, she can jump really well, she finishes around the basket and she makes free throws,” said Johnston. “She has all the makings to be a very good offensive player.”

The Jacks (10-8, 6-2) started the game with one of their best first-half performances all season against last season’s Summit League tournament runner-up, forcing Oakland to shoot 27 percent from the field and building a 16-point lead.

Playing with a considerable size advantage, SDSU hinged its offensive game plan on Maria Boever and Sunnarborg, creating high-percentage shots inside and forcing Oakland to adjust. The game plan worked: Boever and Sunnarborg accounted for 30 of the Jacks’ 66 points and grabbed a combined 24 rebounds.

Oakland, playing without 6-3 starting center Brittany Carnago for possibly the season, could not mount a comeback after a dismal first half in which they scored a season-low 20 points. A solid offensive attack in the second half shrunk the SDSU lead to five with 15 seconds left but ultimately fell short.

“We made an adjustment and I thought that worked, I thought our post-defense did a better job,” said Oakland head coach Beckie Francis. “We’re going to go back to the drawing board and make sure we make those adjustments earlier.”

The Jacks used smart ball-handling to drive the game out of reach for the Golden Grizzlies, tying the second highest assist total of the season with 19 and conceding only 12 turnovers. Everyone in the starting line-up scored in double figures while the bench scored only four points, a season-low.

“That was a little bit frustrating,” said coach Johnston, whose Jacks moved to 20-1 in conference home games since joining the Summit League. “I didn’t think they played poorly, but offensively, we didn’t get any spark from them.”

With the win, the Jacks moved to a three-way tie for second place, a half-game behind conference-leading Oral Roberts.