Jackrabbit Women defeat ‘Yotes


Evan Patzwald, Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State University women’s basketball team won both of their games against University of South Dakota in the South Dakota Showdown Series over the weekend.

 Number 23 South Dakota State (15-2, 8-0) won in a blowout 64-45 Friday night and went on a huge run in the final minutes on Saturday to steal one from South Dakota (10-5, 6-2).

Coming into the weekend, both teams were tied for first in the Summit League standings, each sitting at 6-0. The Jacks came in having won 10 in a row, while the Coyotes had won their last seven games.

The first quarter was pretty close, but the second quarter is when the Jackrabbits took a big lead. They went on a 10-0 run over a four-minute stretch in the second to go up 12, leading 30-18.

Sophomore forward Tori Nelson picked up two early fouls at the beginning of the game and only played four minutes in the first two quarters. This made way for junior guard Sydney Stapleton to step up and come off the bench. She scored 11 points in the first half, shooting three for three on 3-pointers. She was only averaging 1.3 points per game for the year coming in.

“Anytime anyone has success, it’s great,” coach Aaron Johnston said postgame. “She’s worked really hard over several weeks, and Sydney took advantage of her opportunity tonight.”

Liv Korngable led the Coyotes with 11 points at halftime, shooting 50% from the field. USD trailed 33-24 heading into the second half.

Poor shooting would end up being the downfall for USD, as the Jacks put the game away in the third quarter outscoring them 21-9 in the period. The Coyotes shot 28.4% from the field and 10% from 3-point range.

“I thought we played really well defensively,”  redshirt junior Myah Selland said. “I thought we knew our game plan and executed it well.”

SDSU led by as many as 23 points in the second half. Selland scored a game-high 17 points for the home team to continue her season after last year’s injury.

Senior guard Tylee Irwin chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds on the way to the 19-point victory Friday night.

“Tylee’s really good because she’s shifty to the basket,” Johnston said of Irwin. “She was injured early and a little banged up and has been fantastic for us for a number of weeks.”

Korngable finished with 16 points for the visiting team and Hannah Sjerven put up 10 points in the loss.

Game two of the rivalry matchup proved to be much more competitive.

Neither team led by more than eight throughout the entire game. The Jackrabbits held a 24-20 lead with 4:32 to play in the second quarter, until the Coyotes went on a 7-0 run to take the lead 29-26. USD led by one at the half.

Paiton Burkhard scored seven of SDSU’s first eleven points in the third quarter and Nelson would get a layup off just in time off a scramble play to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter.

“Paiton shot the ball really well, but defensively she has worked so hard,” Irwin said of her teammate’s performance Saturday. “She definitely gave USD a hard time in the post, so it’s really great to see her make those kinds of plays for us.”

The fourth quarter is where things got interesting.

 South Dakota would go on a 6-0 run to start the final quarter to push the Coyote’s lead to seven. They would hold their lead for the majority of the rest of the period.

A 3-pointer from USD by Jeniah Ugofsky would put the score at 75-67 with 2:56 remaining in the game. The Coyotes would not score again the rest of the game.

Plays from Selland and Burkhard led to a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 75-74 with just under a minute to play. Then on the next play the Jackrabbit women forced a turnover on a jump ball to get the possession back.

Irwin would make the go-ahead jumper to take the lead with 14.1 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, USD turned the ball over on the inbounds play out of the timeout and Irwin would make the final free throws of the game to seal the come from behind win.

“That’s a really good look for us,” Selland said of Irwin’s go-ahead bucket. “I’ll take that shot any day and she stepped up big for us.”

SDSU finished the game on a 13-0 run in the final 2:56 of the game and went on to win 80-75 staying undefeated in conference play.

“Obviously we had to make a run there and just rallied together and just found another level to get to so that we could finish the game,” said Selland.

Selland scored 26 points in the victory and Paiton Burkhard put up 22 points off of 70% shooting for the home team. Irwin finished with 12 points and Nelson added 11 for the home team.

“Sometimes you need these big stages to remind everybody to see how good [Selland] is,” Johnston said of Selland’s performance postgame. “There’s a lot of people on this team that you could say is having a special year and Myah is at the forefront of that for sure.”

Chloe Lamb only played 23 minutes due to foul trouble, but still scored 18 points to pace the Coyotes. Sjervin played a better game than on Friday, scoring 16, while shooting 7-11 from the floor, but it would not be enough as South Dakota would lose their second straight Summit League game.

SDSU heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma next week to face off against Oral Roberts.

“These games were really big, and I think we can ride the momentum of this weekend,” Selland said. “We still have three more really good teams to play, so we’re just going to ride this momentum and take it through the next few weeks.”