Jackrabbits fall to Jaguars in overtime

TRENTON ABREGO Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State women’s basketball team was defeated and eliminated from the Summit League tournament by the IUPUI Jaguars 65-61 in overtime on Monday.

SDSU owned the lead for more than half of the game but could never extend their lead past six.

“I think we played well, but we couldn’t really pull away,” senior guard Kerri Young said.

The Jacks owned the rebounding margin and had more points in the paint. The Jacks even held Mikale Rogers and Danielle Lawrence of the Jaguars in check. Rogers scored 16 but had 18 rebounds. Danielle Lawrence had 11 points. 

But the Jaguars were led by sophomore guard Sydney Hall, who doubled her yearly average and scored 18 points. Hall hit from three-point range five of her seven attempts. Jenna Gunn also stepped up for the Jaguars and had 17 points.

Madison Guebert led the way offensively for the Jackrabbits with 21 points, 15 of them coming from three-pointers. Guebert eclipsed her 800th point in the contest.

Alexis Alexander made big plays down the stretch, as she came up with two big rebounds that helped the Jackrabbits force overtime. On one rebound, Alexander had a put back and on the other she kicked out to Guebert who drilled a three.

Times are changing for the Summit League Tournament. It’ll be the first time since the 2008-2009 season that the women’s champion isn’t either South Dakota State or South Dakota.

“It was really unprecedented the run we were on, not just in the Summit League,” said head coach Aaron Johnston after the loss.

IUPUI has never won the women’s championship, while the last time the Western Illinois Leathernecks won was 1995.

But that doesn’t mean the Jackrabbits’ season is officially over. They’ll have to wait for Selection Monday to see if they’re picked to go dancing.

The NCAA Division 1 Selection Show will take place on March 13 at 6 p.m.

“Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I think they [SDSU] are worthy of a NCAA tournament bid,” said IUPUI head coach Austin Parkinson.

However, Johnston and Young weren’t as optimistic.

“I think it’ll be really difficult to get an at-large bid,” Johnston said.

The Jackrabbits were ranked seventh in the Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 according to CollegeInsider.com.

Young, who was averaging 13.4 points per game, will graduate this year along with Ena Viso, who averaged 1.8 in her career, and Clarissa Ober, who was the Summit League Defensive Player of the Year.

“It’s a little heartbreaking,” Young said about the loss.

For now, the Jackrabbits will have to wait and see what happens, but Johnston, Guebert and Young made it apparent they are going to try their hardest no matter what tournament they are in.

The Summit League Championship game between Western Illinois and the IUPUI Jaguars will air at 1 p.m. Tuesday and can be seen on ESPNU or WatchESPN.