SDSU completes second-half comeback, downs USD in overtime

Landon Dierks, Sports Reporter

Early January’s double-overtime thriller between South Dakota State and South Dakota was an instant classic.

Sunday’s rematch proved to be a worthy encore.

South Dakota State (22-6, 14-1) came back from a double-digit deficit to knock off No. 23 South Dakota (24-4, 12-2) 82-78 in overtime.

SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston put it best.

“It was quite a weekend for SDSU basketball,” he said.

Less than 24 hours after the Jackrabbit men rallied from 11 points down at halftime to defeat USD at Frost Arena, the SDSU women followed suit, erasing an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat the rival Coyotes.

Both squads came into Sunday as the winners of 11 straight games, each having lost only once in conference play. With the regular season coming to a close, this contest was likely to decide the regular season conference champion and the top seed in the Summit League Tournament — a title both teams wanted.

“We wanted [the win] really bad,” SDSU senior guard Madison Guebert said. “Not just because of the loss earlier this year, but the last few years we’ve been on the wrong side of the regular season games with [USD].”

Players on both sides made timely baskets, but none was bigger than Macy Miller’s 3-point make with 1:02 left in overtime. The SDSU senior rattled in a shot from the right wing, giving her team a 77-75 lead — an advantage it would not surrender.

“That’s a good player rising to the moment, and you expect those things from someone like Macy,” Johnston said. ”But there’s not many people who do those things because they are hard to do.”

Miller scored 19 of her game-high 28 points in the second half, including eight in overtime.

The first half did not go well for the Jackrabbits. SDSU lost the turnover battle 9-2 in the opening half, which was key to the 11-point deficit the Jacks faced at the half

Even when SDSU would make a run or get a potential momentum-swinging play, USD, ever composed through the first 20 minutes, would respond.

Down 13 early in the second half, SDSU never lost composure, slowly chipping away at the Coyote lead.

As it’s done for much of the season, Johnston’s squad won the third quarter scoring battle, bringing the USD lead to single-digits, 59-52, after three quarters.

Then, Guebert did what she’s done her whole career — make clutch 3-pointers.

The senior made two back-to-back in the first minute of the fourth quarter, bringing the Jacks within one. She ended the night with 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc.

Just 90 seconds later, Rylie Cascio Jensen 3-pointer gave SDSU the lead 61-59 on her only field goal of the game.

SDSU didn’t give the lead back, but a free throw by USD’s Chole Lamb tied the game at 69 with 1:45 remaining. The sophomore guard finished with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

Neither team would score for the remainder of regulation, though Lamb had two opportunities to make a game-winning shot come.

Enter Miller’s game-winning overtime performance.

Somewhat lost in the shuffle of Miller and Guebert’s offensive heroics, was the play of Tagyn Larson.

She totaled 21 points and 11 rebounds, giving the junior forward her first career double-double according to

“Tagyn was just phenomenal,” Johnston said. “… I felt like from beginning to end she was probably the one player on the team that looked like she was locked in and playing at a high level on both sides.”

Considering the first meeting between these two teams and the dominance displayed over other members of the conference, overtime seemed like an appropriate way to finish off the afternoon.

“We knew coming in that they were a really good team too,” USD junior guard Ciara Duffy said. “So needing some extra time on the clock to really determine the end of the game seems like a fitting end.”

Duffy led the Coyotes with 23 points and nine rebounds.

Her team might not have emerged the victor, but USD coach Dawn Plitzuweit was pleased with her team’s performance on the road in a rivalry game.

“I’m extremely proud of how our young ladies came out on the road in a tough environment and battled against a very good basketball team. I’m disappointed we didn’t come out on top, but, certainly, from this game, we continue to learn and grow and it’s an important time of the year for us to do that.” Plitzuweit said.

Having downed USD, a win over Western Illinois in the regular season finale would give the Jacks their first Summit League regular season title since the 2013-14 regular season.

SDSU hosts WIU at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at Frost Arena.