This one was never really in doubt.
Behind exceptional team defense and efficient offense, the South Dakota State women’s basketball team dominated in an 86-33 beatdown of North Dakota State on Wednesday night at Frost Arena.
NDSU (6-13, 3-4) came into Wednesday night’s contest without a win on the Jackrabbits’ home court since 2010, but SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston didn’t expect the game to play out as it did.
“I thought they played well in the games leading up to tonight,” Johnston said. “The film we watched was good. They beat a good North Dakota team by double-digits here just a couple days ago … Momentum was definitely on our side and it just never really went the other direction.”
For SDSU (14-6, 6-1), senior guard Madison Guebert was the star of the night at both ends of the floor. The senior guard scored a game-high 23 points, including a mark of 5-8 from behind the 3-point arc.
Guebert’s defense also helped out the Jackrabbits. She served as the primary defender against NDSU’s star guard Michelle Gaislerova, who came into Wednesday night’s matchup as the fifth-leading scorer in the Summit League with an average of 15.7 points per game.
Gaislerova would not make a field goal until the 5:03 mark of the fourth quarter, long after Guebert’s night was finished, and only scored five points on 2-for-9 shooting.
“[Guebert] was really good defensively,” Johnston said. “She took a lot of [Gaislerova’s] shots away and was right there (in her face).”
It did not take long for the Jackrabbits to take control of the game.
After making 3-for-4 to start the game, NDSU went cold, converting on only two of its final 10 attempts from the field in the opening quarter. It was during that cold stretch when SDSU went on a 14-0 run to seize control of momentum and take an 18-6 lead.
By the time the first quarter ended, the Jacks were ahead 26-10.
“When we come out with that spark right away it really sets the tone for the rest of the game,” Guebert said.
Wednesday’s opening quarter had many similarities to the 29-6 effort SDSU put forth in the first 10 minutes of its last game against the University of North Dakota, only this time the lead would continue to grow.
Guebert’s 20 points through three quarters matched the output of the entire NDSU team to that point, as SDSU’s 71-20 lead after three quarter ballooned to 84-23 with 5:18 to go before the final wave of bench-emptying substitutions came through.
Defensively, the Jacks could not have played much better. SDSU held the Bison to 30.4 percent shooting from the field, didn’t allow a 3-pointer until the fourth quarter, forced 22 turnovers while committing only eight personal fouls and outrebounded NDSU 38-22.
“I thought we came out and played really good defensively,” sophomore forward Myah Selland said. “We been focusing a lot on limiting our fouls and I thought we did a really good job of that today and it paid off.”
SDSU outrebounded the Bison due in part to its efficiency on the offensive end of the floor. As a team, the Jacks shot 57.4 percent from the field and, led by Guebert’s outside shooting, made 10-of-23 3-point attempts.
“We played really efficient offensively,” Johnston said. “We didn’t really force anything and took a lot of good shots. Madi [Guebert] and Macy [Miller] were really good tonight.”
Miller finished with 19 points, five assists and five steals. Junior forward Tagyn Larson led the Jackrabbits with nine rebounds to go along with her eight points.
The Jacks will be in action again at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 when they host the University of Nebraska Omaha in the first game of the Pork Classic doubleheader.