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 2003 women's basketball North Central Regional semifinal between SDSU and the University of North Dakota.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 77, NORTH DAKOTA 56
The South Dakota State University women's basketball team took another step toward the 2003 NCAA Division II national title with a 77-56 victory over the University of North Dakota in the semifinals of the North Central Regional on March, 15, 2003, at Frost Arena.
The matchup featured the two women's basketball programs that had combined to win five of the last six regional titles - UND four from 1997-99 and 2001, and SDSU in 2002. UND had defeated the Jackrabbits twice earlier in the season, including a 90-87 triumph in the championship game of the North Central Conference Wells Fargo Finals a week earlier at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits grabbed an early 17-10 lead only to have UND make three consecutive three-point attempts to lead 19-17 midway through the first half.
A traditional three-point play by Shannon Schlagel gave SDSU the lead for good at 20-19 and sparked an 18-2 Jackrabbit run that included three baskets by tournament most valuable player Melissa Pater.
Leading 39-23 at halftime, the Jackrabbits would maintain at least a 16-point lead the rest of the way.
A basket by Stacie Cizek with 5:25 remaining gave SDSU its largest lead of the night at 25 points, 71-46.
Pater led all players with 28 points and 13 rebounds as the senior forward connected on 9-of-13 shots from the field and 10-of-12 at the free throw line. Schlagel posted 15 points and eight rebounds, while Cizek ended the night with 13 points. Brenda Davis added six points and 10 rebounds as the Jackrabbits held a 50-37 advantage on the boards.
The Jackrabbits won despite making only 2-of-16 three-point attempts. Overall from the field, SDSU was 29-of-67, 43.3 percent, and made 17-of-23 free throw attempts, 73.9 percent.
UND was held to 32.3 percent shooting from the field, 20-of-62, including 7-of-25 from three-point range. At the line, UND was 9-of-13 at the line, 69.2 percent.
Marisa Leighton paced UND with 14 points and eight rebounds. Becky Moen added 13 points.
The win up the Jackrabbits' record to 28-3 and propelled them into the North Central Regional championship game two nights later against the University of South Dakota.