KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Megan Waytashek scored a career-high 33 points and the South Dakota State came up with two defensive stops in the final seconds to hold off Kansas City, 62-61, in Summit League women's basketball action Saturday afternoon.
The Jackrabbits improved to 17-6 overall and 9-1 in The Summit League after sweeping a three-game road swing. Kansas City dropped to 8-15 overall and 4-6 in league play.
Kansas City controlled the majority of the first half, grabbing separate leads of seven and eight points.
The Jackrabbits' only lead of the opening stanza was at 4-2 following two Waytashek free throws. The game would be tied four more times, the last at 18-all, before the Kangaroos and guard Eilise O'Connor opened its largest lead of the half at 26-18. O'Connor scored six of Kansas City's points in the 8-0 run.
Waytashek, who scored seven of the Jackrabbits' first nine points of the game, single-handedly kept SDSU in the game. The sophomore scored the final 11 points of the first half, sinking three three-pointers in the final 3 minutes and 30 seconds - the last of which brought the Jackrabbits to within 31-30 at the half.
Waytashek's scoring run reached 21 consecutive points as she scored the first 10 points of the second half, draining two more three-pointers as SDSU gained a 40-31 lead five minutes into the final stanza.
Kansas City, however, wouldn't go away as the Kangaroos battled back to take a momentary 51-50 lead on two O'Connor free throws with 8:35 to play. The lead lasted all of 22 seconds as Mariah Clarin scored inside and Waytashek knocked down her seventh trey of the game.
Trailing 60-59 with 1:22 remaining, the Kangaroos had a chance to regain the lead, but O'Connor, who made her first 10 free throw attempts, missed both attempts.
The two squads traded baskets on their next possessions before Kansas City grabbed a rebound off a Jackrabbit miss with 28 seconds to play. After a timeout, the Kangaroos missed a three-point attempt, but tied up the rebound with less than four seconds remaining with the arrow in favor of Kansas City.
On the final play of the game, Katie Lingle knocked the ball out of O'Connor's hands just before the horn to preserve the Jackrabbit victory.
Waytashek's 33 points came on 11-of-17 shooting from the field, including a career-best 7-of-11 from three-point range. Lingle added nine points off the bench.
SDSU finished the game 21-of-45 from the field, 46.7 percent, with a 10-for-23 effort from three-point range. The Jackrabbits converted 10-of-17 attempts at the free throw line, 58.8 percent.
O'Connor paced the Kangaroos with 26 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Taylor Leathers added 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
The Jackrabbits held a 27-25 rebounding advantage with Leah Dietel posting a team-high five boards.
SDSU returns to home action Thursday, hosting Fort Wayne in a 7 p.m. contest at Frost Arena.
NOTES: SDSU leads the all-time series, 13-1, and has won the last eight matchups ... two of the last three meetings between the two squads have been decided by one point Saturday's game was the 100th Summit League regular season game SDSU has played, with the Jackrabbits improving to 84-16 ... Waytashek's 33 points were the most by a Jackrabbit player in the Division I era and the most by any SDSU women's basketball player since Rachel Halsrud scored 33 against Nebraska-Omaha on March 5, 1994 ... the previous scoring high in the D-I era was 32 points by Megan Vogel versus IPFW on Feb. 10, 2007 ... Lingle moved into sole possession of ninth place in career blocked shots with 82, passing Leah Klaassen (81 blocked shots from 1995-98) ... the Jackrabbits improved to 7-5 when trailing at the half and 11-2 when out-rebounding an opponent ... attendance was 860 at Swinney Recreation Center