Jacks use early-quarter spurts to down Denver

Landon Dierks, Sports Reporter

On a night where they were honored for becoming the top scorer and 3-point shooter in South Dakota State women’s basketball history, it was only fitting that Macy Miller and Madison Guebert did what they do best.

The senior guard duo combined for 30 points, including five 3-point field goals, leading SDSU to a 76-59 win over the visiting Denver Pioneers.

While the senior standouts were honored for their offensive accolades, the defense was the story tonight.

SDSU held Denver well below its season average of 84.5 points a game in an effort that drew praise from the Pioneer’s head coach.

“South Dakota State is an outstanding team,” Denver coach Jim Turgeon said. “We’ve been scoring a ton of points on everybody and they pretty much shut us down. We really, really struggled to score.”

That effort was most evident against Lauren Loven, DU’s leading scorer and the top 3-point shooter in the Summit League. The Jackrabbit defense held Loven to six points on 2-of-12 shooting.

It wasn’t just shutting down Loven where the Jackrabbit defense excelled. The Jacks easily outrebounded the Pioneers 52-30.

“We’ve been getting outrebounded and that’s not something we’re proud of or anything that we’re going to stand for,” SDSU sophomore Myah Selland said. “We wanted to really prove that we can outrebound teams. I think we did a really good job as a team tonight at doing that.”

On the other side, Denver kept the game close in the first half by forcing 11 turnovers while giving the ball away just six times, but the Pioneers never got into a rhythm on the offensive end.

The Jacks seized control early, exploding for seven points in the opening 90 seconds, forcing a quick timeout from Denver head coach Jim Turgeon.

After a 10-0 run in response from the Pioneers, the teams traded baskets as the first quarter ended with the score knotted at 15.

SDSU started off the second quarter with an 11-0 run before Denver could muster a score. DU stopped the lead from getting any larger before the halftime but trailed SDSU 36-29 at the break.

As was the case in the first half, SDSU came out of the halftime break hot.

SDSU began the third quarter on a 12-2 run in the opening minutes, pushing the advantage to 48-31.

Denver wouldn’t threaten the lead after that.

The Jackrabbit lead ballooned to as much as 23 halfway through the third quarter and SDSU led 63-45 at the end of three quarters on the way to the 17-point final margin.

With the game already in hand, the Jackrabbits rode out the final period and walked away with a convincing win over the team that entered Wednesday’s contest at the top of the Summit League standings.

Miller and Selland led the Jacks in scoring, each netting 18 points in the win. Selland also added to her effort with 11 rebounds for her second career double-double.

SDSU improved to 3-1 in Summit League play while Denver fell to 3-2.

The Jacks will be back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday when Oral Roberts visits Brookings.