Ladies find success during winter break

Kirk Danielson

Kirk Danielson

The women’s basketball team had a busy winter break, with both controversial and lucrative results.

During the break, the team went 5-3, with big road wins against Alabama and Minnesota.

Currently, the team sports a 15-5 record, with ten games remaining. The Jacks are still in the hunt for a Women’s National Invitational Tournament bid for post-season play.

Finishing up the December schedule, the Jackrabbits ran away from San Jose State 98-63 at home, before winning again in Tuscaloosa, 65-54, against the University of Alabama. The final home game of the year pitted the Jacks against No. 20 Marquette. Marquette prevailed, 80-63, on New Year’s Eve, ending SDSU’s home winning streak at 15 games.

The Jacks started 2007 on the road. The first stop was a 78-61 win against the University of California-Davis. The Jacks overcame a halftime deficit, scoring 50 points in the second half to win in California. Two days later, the Jacks fell to a tough Western Kentucky team, 67-61, in Bowling Green, Ky.

“We had a bad start in that game. We really got down early in the first half, and at about the ten-minute mark we started a comeback. We got it back to a one-point game, and had two looks to go ahead in the last few minutes. That was one of the few times this year we haven’t made a big play down the stretch to come back,” said Coach Aaron Johnston.

Jan. 14 found the Jackrabbits playing on the road against the University of Minnesota. The Jacks led the majority of the game. It was the last few seconds, however, that were marred in controversy. Minnesota had a seven-point lead with just more than six minutes left in the game. The Jacks clamped down on defense and held the Gophers without a field goal in the final five minutes. The Jacks took the lead, 57-56, on a basket by senior Megan Vogel with one minute and 35 seconds left in the contest. The Gophers took a 58-57 lead with 3.5 seconds remaining. With time Andrea Verdegan found freshman Maria Boever for a game winning lay-up, clinching the 59-58 SDSU victory.

Minnesota contested that the shot did not leave Boever’s hand before time expired, but after review, the officials ruled the shot counted. Since the game, the University of Minnesota contested there was possibly incorrect officiating with the NCAA. The Women’s Basketball Officiating Consortium ruled the shot should not have counted, but the Jackrabbit victory remains the official outcome of the game. The win also puts SDSU’s record at 2-1 against Big Ten teams since moving to Division I.

“The big thing sometimes people lose sight of is that we led for probably two-thirds of that game. We played very well up there, made a lot of plays down the stretch, and I was really pleased with everything that happened throughout that game. I wish the ending wouldn’t have been so controversial for everyone, but at the same time, I’m certainly not disappointed with the way things turned out,” said Johnston.

In the aftermath of the events in Minneapolis, the Jacks went back to work and returned home to beat Minnesota-Duluth the next night 64-51 at Frost Arena.

“The last five minutes of the game defensively we played well. They didn’t score many points, and we really turned it on when we had to,” said Johnston.

The Jackrabbits return to the road to take on Utah Valley State, Texas Pan-America and North Dakota State University, before being rewarded with five home games in the month of February. The Jacks are 9-1 at home, and looking for a berth into the WNIT. The Jacks start the home stand Thursday, Feb. 8, against New Jersey Tech at 7 p.m.