Women move on to semifinals

Selland’s 26 points leads the Jacks to victory over Denver


Joclyn Haven

Myah Selland goes up for a shot Saturday afternoon in SDSU’s quarterfinal win over Denver at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. Selland finished with a game-high 26 points in the win.

Evan Patzwald, Assistant Sports Editor

SIOUX FALLS – The South Dakota State Jackrabbits (22-8, 17-1) advanced to the semifinal round of the Summit League Tournament Saturday afternoon after its 86-59 win over Denver (10-20, 5-13) in the quarterfinal round.

SDSU played well from start to finish. After Denver scored the opening bucket, The Jacks would go on a 16-0 run over the next six minutes of the quarter to open their lead. SDSU never looked back and outscored the Pioneers in every quarter minus the fourth.

It was the opening game of the whole tournament and the first time being back in the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center with a full crowd in Sioux Falls. Last year’s tournament was played at the Sanford Pentagon with no fans in the stands because of COVID-19.

“Really good start for us, fun to be back in this facility, fun to have the kind of atmosphere that goes with that,” coach Aaron Johnston said after the game. “I think everybody felt that, whether you were on or off the court.”

Myah Selland got off to a hot start for the top seeded-Jackrabbits as she had 11 points, shooting 4-of-5 from the field in the first quarter, taking a 25-11 lead after the first 10 minutes. Selland had not played in a postseason game since the 2019 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 due to injuries the past two seasons at this time. Selland was excited to get the opportunity to play in the tournament again.

“It is so much fun to be back out there,” Selland said. “I was really excited for today’s game personally and as a team. I think together we’re playing really well and coming into this and being in this atmosphere is so much fun.”

Selland finished the game with a game-high 26 points and had five rebounds. She shot an efficient percentage, shooting 10-for-14 from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point range.

Paiton Burckhard also had a solid showing, finishing with 18 points, 10 of which were in the third quarter alone, eight rebounds and four assists. She shot 8-13 field goals. Burckhard also appreciated the atmosphere in the building.

“It’s really loud and there’s lots of blue and yellow in the stands,” Burckhard said. “It’s really fun to play off of when shots are going in, fans are getting loud and It’s a great atmosphere to play in.

SDSU led in many categories in the game, including outscoring Denver in the paint, 48-34, second chance points, 16-8, and bench points, 20-8.

Denver’s leading scorer in the game was Uju Ezeudu. She finished the game with 25 points, the most in the game behind Selland. She also contributed five rebounds. The effort was not enough for the Pioneers to overcome their bid deficit.

“Obviously we’re not where we want to be, but I’m proud of the resilience this team showed,” Denver coach Doshia Woods said postgame. “You could say a lot about our team, we struggled scoring the ball and preventing them from scoring the ball. But one thing that I know is that our team won’t quit, we like to play the cards that we’re dealt and find a way and that’s what we did tonight.”

Denver finished the season 10-20 overall and 5-13 in Summit League play. Woods’ team showed fight later in the season, finishing league play 5-5 after starting 0-8. She looks to build on this effort next season.

For the Jacks, this was their 22nd win on the year and 14th straight win. They have not lost since Jan. 8 to South Dakota and look to carry that momentum to the semifinal round Monday. They will play the winner of the No. 4 Oral Roberts and No. 5 North Dakota game tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. The Jacks went 2-0 against both of these teams in the regular season as their only conference loss was to South Dakota.