SDSU seals title with tough win over IUPUI

Spencer Chase

In what was at times a truly ugly contest, SDSU became the outright winner of the Summit League regular season championship in a 66-52 win over IUPUI Feb. 25 at Frost Arena.

“It worked out in our favor,” said SDSU’s Jennie Sunnarborg. “I wouldn’t say it was the cleanest win for us, but we got it done and that’s how our team’s been doing.”

The Jacks were led by Sunnarborg with 20 points, her eighth 20-point performance of the season. Katie Lingle came off the bench to provide 13 and Ashley Eide chipped in 11. The Jackrabbits struggled to contain Kerah Nelson, who had a game-high 21 points for IUPUI, but achieved those numbers through 25 shots from the field.

The Jackrabbits got this win in part from two staples of the team this year: free throw efficiency and bench production. The SDSU bench once again outscored the other teams bench, this time with a 24-10 margin. All but one of the players to come off the bench for the Jacks ended up the point column. Also, SDSU shot 23-25 from the charity stripe and had four people shoot perfectly from the line. Lingle led the team in points from the line with 9 of her 13 points coming from free throws.

Although this game was a win for the Jacks, SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston knows his team still has a lot to work on before the Summit League tournament.

“I thought their pressure caused us a lot of problems,” head coach Aaron Johnston said. “We’ve played a lot of teams lately that have just backed off us, sagged at almost every position. They came out with a different approach.”

With the win, the Jackrabbits not only won the Summit League regular season championship and locked up the number-one seed in the Summit League tournament, they also secured a guaranteed WNIT birth depending on the outcome of the Summit League tournament.

“We can’t relax, we can’t overlook any teams, and (Western Illinois) is our next competition,” Sunnarborg said. “We’re ready to go and hopefully it will turn out best for us.”