Frost at 40: 2007 WNIT Debut
Editor's Note: Throughout the 2012-13 athletics season, Jackrabbit Athletics will spotlight 40 of the top moments in the 40-year history of Frost Arena. This week's segment focuses on the Jackrabbit women's basketball team's victory over Illinois State in the 2007 Women's NIT.
The South Dakota State University women’s basketball showed signs of rust at times, but made enough plays in crunch time to make its debut in the Women’s NIT a successful one, defeating Illinois State, 61-48, in second-round action on March 17, 2007, before a crowd of 5,719 at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits, who posted their 13th win in a row, improved to 24-5 overall. Illinois State, runner-up in the Missouri Valley Conference, ended its season with a 22-11 record. SDSU earned the right to host Indiana in third-round action.
Early on, the two teams traded baskets before the Jackrabbits grabbed the lead for good, 7-6, on a layup by Andrea Verdegan with 17 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first half. That basket keyed a 10-2 run, capped by a Megan Vogel three-pointer, as SDSU took a 17-8 lead.
The Redbirds responded with a 7-0 run, including a triple by Megan McCracken, to pull within a basket. Another Jackrabbit surge put SDSU back up by seven, 33-26, heading into the final minute of the half before ISU scored the final four points of the half. McCracken drained her third three-pointer of the half just before the buzzer to make the halftime score 33-30.
After Illinois State opened the second-half scoring with a basket by Nicolle Lewis, SDSU went on a 9-0 run over the next two-plus minutes to take its first double-digit lead of the night at 42-32. The Jackrabbits would keep ISU at arm’s length the rest of the way as the Redbirds could not pull any closer than six points, 51-45, on a basket by Sara Stevenson with 5:59 remaining.
The Jackrabbits, who last played on March 3, turned up their defense another notch in the closing minutes, holding ISU scoreless the last 5:20 of the game.
Vogel led all scorers with 23 points, while Verdegan added 10, despite missing most of the first half with foul trouble. Courtney Grimsrud and reserve Maria Boever added eight points each.
SDSU ended the night 23-of-57 from the field, 40.4 percent, including 5-of-17 on three-pointers.
Both teams struggled from the line. SDSU finished the game 10-of-21, 47.6 percent, while the Redbirds made only 5-of-15 at the stripe, 33.3 percent. However, the Jackrabbits committed only seven turnovers, compared to 14 by ISU.
Illinois State finished 19-of-54 from the field, 35.2 percent, and was 5-of-19 from behind the arc.
McCracken led the Redbirds with 15 points, including four three-pointers. Kristi Cirone added 11.
After trailing on the boards for much of the game, SDSU finished with a 42-40 edge on the boards. Grimsrud and Jennifer Warkenthien led the Jackrabbits with eight boards apiece, with Lashawn Johnson of Illinois State leading all players with nine.