Jacks ascend the Summit

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

The first goal of the South Dakota State women’s basketball team was to win the Summit League regular season crown; mission accomplished but just barely.

The Jacks claimed the regular season championship outright with a 71-64 victory over Oral Roberts on March 2 in Tulsa, Okla. In the two years that SDSU has been in the Summit League, they have claimed the regular season championship both times.

Jill Young scored a game high of 23 points off the bench for SDSU, as the Jacks claimed the number one seed at the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls.

The Jacks were never able to pull away from the Golden Eagles, as there were 12 lead changes and seven ties and neither team led by more than four points in the first half.

With the game tied at 52, Young hit one of her seven 3-pointers to give the Jacks the lead for good. The Jacks would continue to build on the three-point lead by scoring the next four points and pushing the lead to seven, their biggest of the game to that point.

The Golden Eagles would try to battle back, but for every ORU basket, the Jacks had an answer. The Jacks were able to build the lead to eight, and the Eagles would not get within three the rest of the way.

Free throws were the difference in the game. Oral Roberts struggled from the free-throw line, shooting just 17-of-31 from the stripe and helped prevent the Golden Eagles from pulling off the upset. The Jacks made 20-of-28 free throws, including the last four down the stretch by Young and Kristin Rotert, to help keep Oral Roberts at bay.

In addition to Young’s 23 points, Rotert and Maria Boever had 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Stacie Oistad chipped in 10.

The Jacks made double digit 3-pointers for the seventh time this year, and Young’s seven was the most since 2002 when Brenda Davis made eight.

The Jacks and Golden Eagles square off again in the first round of the Summit League Tournament on March 7, with opening tip-off scheduled for noon in Sioux Falls.

The winner of the Summit League Tournament advances to the NCAA Women’s Tournament.