Blogging To The Summit: Both SDSU Teams Reach Championship Games

SIOUX FALLS — Two miraculous comebacks in the men’s session coupled with two dominant performances from the higher seeds in the women’s session resulted in our championship games being set for the Summit League Tournament. 

Both SDSU men and women advance to the title game for the second-straight year. The women dominated early and often while the men, somehow, pulled off another come from behind victory to secure a one-point win in the final game of the day. 

The men have another date with NDSU, the same team they have faced in their last two championship game appearances. Meanwhile, the women get USD for the third time in the last four years. 

Those games will take place Monday. Here’s how the Jackrabbit opponents got into the championship games. 

News & Notes: 

* The cold opening half USD suffered on Saturday was nowhere to be found on Monday as the Coyotes jumped out to a 17-3 lead, using their size to their advantage against Oral Roberts. 

Summit League Player of the Year Nicole Seekamp was once again instrumental in the Coyotes victory, totaling 14 points and four assists which led to an additional 10 points. In all, Seekamp accounted for 24 points, but her biggest impact came on the defensive end. 

After dropping 33 points against Western Illinois on Sunday, Kaylan Mayberry was held to just five points on 2-of-7 shooting with Seekamp as the primary defender. Mayberry was unable to get open and ultimately fouled out late in the game. 

Now, USD advances to their fourth-straight Summit League Tournament championship game. They’ve reached the final day of the tournament each year they’ve been eligible since joining the Division I ranks. 

* On top of the season-high 24 assists for SDSU in their win over Omaha, they also forced 15 turnovers from the Mavericks while they coughed up the ball just three times. 

That sort of defense will need to shine through again against USD as the Coyotes share the ball well each and every game, leading the conference in assists, averaging 18.0 per game. 

Both Omaha and Oral Roberts coaches were asked to give some insight into the championship and neither coach budged. Brittany Lange and Misti Cussen both said the teams are very evenly matched despite USD winning both regular season matchups. 

* Trailing by as many as 18 points in the first half and playing without its leading scorer Paul Miller (suspended for a violation of team rules), five seed NDSU chipped away at IPFW’s throughout the second half, clawed their way back and, with four seconds left in the game, too a 69-68 lead. 

IPFW guard and Summit League POY Max Landis was able to get a shot off before the final buzzer, but it was contested and off balance and failed to connect, resulting in the Bison victory. 

Carlin Dupree led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting for NDSU while Khy Kabellis contributed 19 points and five rebounds. 

Now, NDSU advances to its fourth-straight Summit League Tournament championship game and is looking for their third-straight tournament title. 

IPFW led for 39 minutes and nine seconds, had 14 offensive rebounds to NDSU’s five, had 22 second chance points and made 14 threes. All of that and this inexperienced-but-talented Mastodon team was sent packing. 

The second half was really the story of two different teams. Though Kabellis is just a freshman, most of NDSU’s players that saw action have been through the Summit League Tournament grind before. They know what it takes to win games like this and how no game is ever over until the final horn sounds. 

IPFW will be back. Though Landis runs out of eligibility, as do a number of key players, they still return first team all-conference member John Konchar, will likely get Mo Evans back (missed the last portion of this season due to academic ineligibility) and their fast-paced style is hard to match most of the time. 

Overall, the men’s sessions have been better games in terms of them being close contests while the women’s have been blowouts. 

In the end, we’re in almost the exact same place we were in 365 days ago. Championship Tuesday is upon us.