Taking care of business.
One could say that’s all SDSU seniors Jill Young and Jennie Sunnarborg have done for the bulk of their careers.
They did that and got a lot of extra help in hitting the 100-point mark for the first time in four years in a 101-61 win over Western Illinois on Monday night at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits started a tad slow but ended the first half with a 13-point lead at 46-33. That proved to be only the beginning and the Jacks opened the second half on a 15-2 run as part of the 55 second-half points tallied by SDSU. With the urging of the student section behind her, Megan Stuart’s layup with 25 seconds left put the Jackrabbits into triple-digits. SDSU is now 33-3 in the last five seasons during the month of February.
“I don’t think the final score is indicative of the game and Western Illinois is a really good team. We played really well on offense and it was more about us playing well than it was about what Western Illinois did,” Head Coach Aaron Johnston said.
Sunnarborg finished the game with 23 points, her ninth 20-point performance of the year and it was perhaps her most efficient, shooting 9-of-10 from the field. Her veteran compatriot Young wrapped up the game with 18 points on what was an emotional night for both.
“We just came out with the focus and the energy and it meant a lot to us seniors to end our career on a win. It’s exciting to get this momentum going before the tournament in Sioux Falls,” Sunnarborg said.
In quieter performances, Ashley Eide had 15 points and Mariah Clarin scored a career-high 10 points. 11 of 12 SDSU players scored in the game and the Jacks held a 52-14 advantage in the paint, providing proof in the finale that the Jackrabbits have staked their claim as the regular season’s most dominant team. Now the question lies: can the Jacks do it again?
SDSU will enter the tournament as the top-seed for the first time since 2009 and will take on IPFW in the first round, opening the tournament Saturday at noon. The two teams met in the semifinals last season in Sioux Falls. Since then, SDSU has surged and IPFW has fallen off.
“I guess we’ve probably had the target on our back the last few years even if we haven’t really been the one-seed,” Young said. “We’re going to be ready to go and even though they are the eight-seed, we’re not going to take them lightly.”