Jackrabbits run away with exhibitioner

A mix of returners and newcomers guided SDSU women’s basketball to a 77-40 victory over the South Dakota School of Mines in their first of two exhibitioners.

True freshman point guard Macy Miller joined seniors Mariah Clarin and Megan Waytashek and sophomores Chynna Stevens and Kerri Young to form a starting five all six-foot and above.

Stevens headlined this group, finishing the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds for her first collegiate double-double.

“I think that just comes with doing what coach asks us to do – putting in a bunch of work and hitting the glass,” Stevens said. “A lot of those points come from hitting the glass. It’s just how it works out.”

Head coach Aaron Johnston has high hopes that Stevens will be able to continue her success into the regular season.

“Chynna’s a really good player,” Johnston said. “She can play either the three or the four for us. She can use her strength, her quickness to our benefit, so yeah, we think she could be that kind of player.”

One of three true freshmen to score, Ellie Thompson led the team with 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds coming off the bench to play center.

“Ellie is a really skilled player,” Johnston said. “Against Mines, South Dakota School of Minds, against Northern she’s going to be bigger and stronger. Against other really athletic, explosive Division I players we’ll have to see if her instincts and her strength will still get done what she did today. She knows how to score. She knows how to play. She knows how to rebound, how to use her body. She’s just so talented at those things that we’re hoping she’ll be good against any kind of competition.”

Overall, the Jacks appear in good shape with their post players. Mariah Clarin tallied 11 points and eight boards while Clarissa Ober finished with seven points and four rebounds.

“There’s just such a small difference between all of them [the post group],” Johnston said.

Miller finished the game as one of four Jackrabbits in double figures with 11 points and made two assists while playing a turnover free game.

Waytashek, the team’s lone representative on the preseason All-Summit League team didn’t have a big game statistically compared to where she normally finishes, scoring six points, but she said her main focus was getting the team going and being a leader.

“It’s been fun to just help the team get going and make everybody feel comfortable on the court and to get everyone playing well together,” Waytashek said.

Waytashek played 17 minutes as Johnston tried to get a good luck at his bench, but he said her minutes will certainly go up once SDSU enters the regular season.

The highlight of the game came in the second half when Waytashek stole the ball, but tripped as she tried to start the break. Miller then saved the ball from rolling out underneath the SDSU basket and Young found Miller’s desperation pass and finished the play with a jumper.

SDSU will return to action at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 to host Northern State for their final exhibitioner ahead of their season opener against Brigham Young University on Nov. 14.