Jacks Shoot Their Way Into Championship, Down Omaha 76-60

SIOUX FALLS — Another hot start for South Dakota State, another Summit League Tournament victory. The Jacks opened up a 14-2 lead on lights out shooting early and led the entire way, resulting in a 76-60 drubbing of the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in the tournament semifinals on Monday afternoon. 

With the victory, the Jacks (24-6) advance to their second-straight tournament championship game where they’ll face the University of South Dakota Coyotes, also for the second-straight time. 

SDSU got out of the gates early, taking an 8-0 lead behind six early points from Macy Miller. She and Madison Guebert combined for 18 points in the first quarter to give the Jacks a 31-12 lead.

“We knew coming in we had to bring a lot of energy,” first team all-conference member Miller said. “Omaha’s a good team and we know they want to play well and beat us because we beat them twice in the regular season. We just had to come out prepared and make shots.”

Those shots were falling early and often for the Jacks, who hit six triples in the first quarter. The shots came easily thanks to great ball movement that carried SDSU all game. 

By the time the final buzzer went off, the Jacks had tallied 24 assists as a team on 30 made shots. That’s a season-high in team assists for the Jacks, who rely on the team’s shooting ability to make those passes meaningful. 

“Our team is doing a really great job of moving the ball,” the freshman Guebert said. “We have so many great shooters that we have confidence in every single one of them to knock down the shots we need.”  

A cold shooting second quarter gave Omaha (15-15) a chance to cut into the deficit, but were unable to put together a scoring run and found themselves down by 17 at halftime. 

The second half featured lower scoring numbers for both teams, though SDSU maintained their lead throughout, seeing that lead grow to as many as 26 points late in the third quarter. 

SDSU’s outside shooting touch (11 made threes for the game) opened up the paint for junior Clarissa Ober, who totaled 11 points in the second half alone on her way to a 17-point, four-rebound day. 

Though she finished with 16 points, the Jacks were ultimately able to contain first team all-conference performer Mikaela Shaw, who went just 5-of-15 from the field thanks to switching up defenders on her, including Ellie Thompson, Gabrielle Boever and Ober at different times. 

“Shaw’s a very good player. She’s one of the best players in the league,” head coach Aaron Johnston said. “She’s a real handful. We had some different matchups. Ellie’s pretty athletic on her, Clarissa was in there challenging shots, Gabby’s a different matchup, quick enough to guard and strong enough to handle her.” 

Guebert led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Miller and Ober both had 17 points and Kerri Young added 11 points, four rebounds and five assists. Boever had a team-high seven assists. 

SDSU improves to 20-1 in Summit League Tournament games. They will be looking to win their seventh tournament championship in eight years and once again advance to the NCAA Tournament.  

This will be the third time in the last four years SDSU and USD have clashed for the Summit League Tournament title. 

Omaha head coach Brittany Lange is very familiar with both teams through Summit League play and while she expects another good game between the two teams, she isn’t willing to take a side. 

“I think both teams are on a mission,” Lange said. “You have four great seniors and the Player of the Year in [Nicole] Seekamp. That being said, I think it’s really hard to beat a really good team three times in a row.”