Dancing with the elite


Lynn Stoneburner, Charlie Maricle

The SDSU Jacks traveled the road to victory with pride and determination.

The top-seed Jackrabbits hosted the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament and defended their home court.

The championship game fittingly was between in-state rivals USD and SDSU, Monday night.

Senior Melissa Pater made her final game at Frost Arena a memorable one, becoming the career scoring leader at SDSU. Oh, and the team won, too.

“Well, I don’t know if it gets much better than this. With a win in front of this many people, it’s very special,” Pater said.

Entering the game Pater needed 11 points to pass Jenny Johnson for the scoring lead.

She got 12 in the first half, and ended the game with 18 points and 13 rebounds, her third straight double-double.

Her effort was outdone by Shannon Schlagel’s 27 and 14.

But offense wasn’t the focus heading into the game.

“Going into the game, A.J. said that defense and rebounding were going to be a couple of the keys, and we had to keep Mandy off the boards,” Schlagel said.

The NCC Most Valuable player Mandy Koupal led USD with 27 points but had only seven rebounds.

SDSU’s defense only forced nine turnovers, but bothered USD enough for them to shoot only 37 percent from the field, including 18 percent from three-point range.

Julia Frie and Heather Nelson, who combined for 43 points in the teams last meeting, had 23 Monday.

That defense in mind, the Lady Jacks held the Coyotes at bay the entire game.

USD kept the lead in single digits until a Davis three with three minutes left to play in the game. At the half the lead was 14 points.

That lead was stretched to 17 in the second half. But a fierce USD run cut the lead to nine.

Key three pointers by Brooke Dickmeyer and Megan Otte pushed the lead back to 14.

SDSU opened the tournament with a 107-71 victory over No. 8 Regis University (Colo.) on Friday night in Frost Arena.

Six SDSU players were in double figures and seniors Pater and Karly Hegge both had double-double performances. Pater had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Hegge added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Brenda Davis dropped in 17, while Shannon Schlagel added 16. Stacie Cizek hit 13 and Heather Sieler contributed 10.

Cizek opened the game with a three-point basket and the Jacks never looked back, ever. That lead grew to as much as 21