Women’s Basketball routs rival NDSU in front of packed Frost Arena


By Robert Myers Sports Reporter

The Jackrabbit women blew past NDSU, 82-42, in front of 3,840 fans on Saturday afternoon to win their third straight game and avenge their loss to the Bison earlier this season.

SDSU began the game in                          attack mode and never looked back,  mounting runs of 16 and nine straight points in the first half as they built an 18-point halftime lead. 

The lead was forged with a stout defense that denied the easy bucket and held NDSU’s Brooke LeMar five points below her 19.5 points per game average. LeMar’s Bison shot just 34 percent for the half, finishing with 28 points.

“We started trapping ball screens and handoffs on her [LeMar],” said senior guard Megan Waytashek.  “That kind of slowed her down and got her out of her rhythm, but I think we just did a better job guarding her on the ball and our second defensive line closing the gaps”

Meanwhile, senior Mariah Clarin led the charge for the Jackrabbits as she finished the half with 15 points and eight rebounds. She would finish the game with 21 points, one shy of her career-high, and 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.

“That’s great to see Mariah playing such a high level, especially at this point in her career,” head coach Aaron Johnston said. “It helps her team obviously, but when you’re in this for a while – with players, as they get to be seniors, you just want them to have such a high level of success so they can really feel what it’s like to try and carry a team and be a leader. … I think in the last two or three weeks she’s really playing well.” 

Twice, NDSU threatened to make it a game, but three pointers by           Rachel Walters and Kerri Young each launched a run, the second putting the game out of reach for good.

The second half gave SDSU an opportunity to build on their lead, and they took full advantage. Waytashek scored eight points off layups in the opening minutes on her way to a 17-point game.

“My outside shot wasn’t falling so I just made an emphasis on attacking the basket,” Waytashek said.  

Macy Miller and Young also joined in the assault, each finishing the game with 13 points.  Eleven Jackrabbits finish with points in the team effort that saw SDSU shoot 46 percent and finish with their third-highest point total of the season.

NDSU’s struggles continued though, as their shooting percentage dropped to 31. LeMar’s 14 led the way for NDSU with Holly Johnson joining her in double figures with 13 prior to fouling out.

“We’ve really taken some good steps forward defensively in the past three or four weeks,” Johnston said. “We’ve done a better job guarding the ball as a team, not just one-on-one but guarding the ball as a team. We’re rotating better, helping, recovering. Our post players have been really active in trying to deny a little bit inside and that’s helped us.” 

The Bison could not find an answer for SDSU inside the paint, surrendering 14 offensive rebounds and being out rebounded by 22. The Jacks held a 54-24 scoring edge inside the paint. 

For the Jacks, this was their sixth straight win in Frost Arena and their second straight by at least 25 points. Their recent run has elevated them to a second place tie with Western         Illinois in the Summit League at 6-3, and just one game behind USD, who they will host on Feb. 21.

“It certainly makes everybody’s life a little less stressful in the last two minutes of the game,” Johnston said about the margin of victory. “… Those things have happened because of the effort we’ve put into it, how we’ve defended.”

The home stretch will continue for another week as SDSU awaits a visit from Fort Wayne on Feb. 8. The Jackrabbits took the road meeting          between the two teams, 65-64, on a late free throw by Miller.

Fort Wayne will be coming off of a game at USD on Saturday and        currently sits near the bottom of the conference with just two league wins.