Going into the North Central Conference Tournament the SDSU women were riding a four game high.
But USD was on an even longer streak.
Both teams were neck and neck heading to the finish. Both wanted that coveted home court advantage for the tournament.
Ironically, home court wasn’t determined by either team. It was determined by a coin.
SDSU was able to play through the pressure, beating UNO 96-62 and UNC 77-59 both at home.
USD was also handled the pressure, beating Augustana and Minnesota State-Mankato both on the road.
That’s when the pesky coin came into play.
Because NDSU beat UND, creating a tie for third, first-place needed to be decided by a coin-flip.
SDSU guessed right.
Thus Brookings hosted the NCC tournament.
SDSU, who got a bye in the first round, faced NDSU Friday in the second round.
SDSU claimed the lead in the first minute and never relinquished it.
Shannon Schlagel lead SDSU’s attack with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Karly Hegge contributed 10 and 11, while Melissa Pater added 18 points.
The 87-67 win sent SDSU to the championship game to face UND.
UND grabbed a lead five minutes into the game and lead the rest of the way.
With six minutes left in the game SDSU put on a charge, cutting a 14 point lead to two.
“The last four or five minutes I thought we executed really well. But down the stretch we just didn’t make any plays,” Coach Aaron Johnston said.
The rally was spearheaded by two Heather Sieler steals.
But a desperation three by Brenda Davis bounced off the rim, giving UND a 90-87 victory.
“We didn’t primarily lose the game then. We lost the game in the first half and the first part of the second half,” Pater said.
UND was lead by tournament MVP Becky Moen’s 32 points.
Pater lead SDSU with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Davis had 19 points and Sieler 13.
UND was able to hold Schlagel to four points and five rebounds.
Even with the loss, SDSU will host the Regional games for the National tournament.