Women’s basketball falls to Coyotes

Jackrabbit women’s basketball could not overcome Megan Waytashek’s illness and Tia Hemiller’s late three-pointers as they fell 82-78 to USD on the road Saturday, Jan. 17.

With Waytashek not making the trip, fellow senior Rachel Walters started in her place, and several other Jackrabbits stepped up to pick up the slack.

One such player was junior Chloe Cornemann who played a career-high 30 minutes and scored eight points after playing only sparingly so far this season. 

“We like Chloe,” said head coach Aaron Johnston. “She’s got a lot of good players around her. Chloe knows that. It is not a question of can Chloe contribute … it’s a question of all the other good players we have too, so she’s been in a challenging spot.”

Early on, it looked as though SDSU would manage just fine without Waytashek. They went inside early and often, and held advantages in rebounding and points in the paint for the first half as they built a 10-point lead midway through. 

Toward the end of the half, the momentum shifted as the Coyotes finished the half on a 9-4 run to close the deficit to just three points and reenergize the home crowd.

After surviving a Coyote run out of the half to retake the lead, the Jacks looked to right the ship, but were unable to control the lead, which would shift back and forth throughout the half until a second-chance three-pointer from Hemiller put the Coyotes up for good with 3:26 left in the game. 

A minute later Hemiller did it again and from there USD finished off the Jacks going six of eight from the free throw line in the final minute.

“That was a really big turning point in the game,” Johnston said about the two three-pointers.

Raeshel Contreras tortured the Jacks all afternoon, scoring 32 points, including four three-pointers and 10 for 12 from the charity stripe. Heidi Hoff gave the Coyotes a spark off the bench, scoring 11.   SDSU held Nicole Seekamp to just one field goal, but she hurt them at the foul line, going 10 for 10. They also largely held Hemiller in check with the exception of her late threes.

Offensively, the Jacks were led by Macy Miller who matched a career-high with 25 points. Mariah Clarin and Chynna Stevens also finished in double figures with 13 points each. Stevens added a game high 11 rebounds to her scoring for her second double-double of the year.

With the loss, SDSU fell to 3-3 in Summit League play and watched their rival improve to 4-1, but for the Jacks there is no panic about losing their stranglehold over the Summit League.

“All three of our losses are losses we deserve to have, but all three of them were a basket or two from going the other way – sometimes in basketball that just happens,” Johnston said. “That’s not to say that we don’t take responsibility for it, we’ll look inside of ourselves and figure out how to get better. But our team is competitive, our team is very talented and I don’t know that anybody would count us out of anything yet, so we’ll keep plugging away and see what we can do.”

The Jacks will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. inside Frost Arena, as they host Oral Roberts.