A layup by Megan Waytashek with 9.7 seconds remaining completed a South Dakota State comeback as the Jackrabbits escaped Frost Arena with a 66-65 victory over Eastern Michigan in non-conference women's basketball action Tuesday night.
The Jackrabbits improved to 5-4 overall with their second consecutive victory. Eastern Michigan saw its losing streak reach seven games as the Eagles dropped to 1-7 on the season.
EMU led nearly the entire evening, breaking an 11-all tie with 15-5 run over a five-minute span than bridged the halfway point of the first half. Miranda Tate and Natachia Watkins each scored a pair of baskets in the Eagle spurt.
The Jackrabbits trimmed the margin to three at halftime as Gabby Boever connected on a three-pointer from about 28 feet just before the buzzer to make the score 32-29 at halftime.
Despite some newfound momentum, SDSU didn't take the lead until the final seconds. Six times the Jackrabbits pulled to within a point - the first time at 36-35 after a pair of three-pointers by Ashley Eide in the first 95 seconds of the second half.
After the two teams traded baskets to make the score 38-37 in favor of EMU, the Eagles put together an 11-4 run capped by a Tate three-pointer to go up 49-41 heading into the under-12 media timeout.
Eide canned two more clutch three-pointers down the stretch, pulling the Jackrabbits within a point each time - the last of which made the score 65-64 in favor of EMU with 1:13 to play. The two teams then traded turnovers before Eastern Michigan's Desyree Thomas missed both free throw attempts with 31 seconds to play.
After a Jackrabbit timeout, SDSU moved the ball to Hannah Strop in the high post, who turned and hit a cutting Waytashek on the right side of the lane for the go-ahead layup. The Eagles got off a contested shot outside the lane from about 12 feet away a second before the horn and came up empty with Waytashek corralling the rebound.
Waytashek tied a career high with 17 points, while Eide scored 15 points on a career-high five three-pointers.
The Jackrabbits ended the game 21-of-52 from the field, 40.4 percent, including 9-of-28 on three-point tries. SDSU converted 15-of-22 free throw attempts for 68.2 percent.
Eastern Michigan fared better from the field, going 25-of-52, 48.1 percent. The Eagles made 6-of-10 three-point tries, but were only 9-of-16 at the charity stripe, 56.3 percent.
Tate finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field. Amber Bogard added 11 points, with India Hairston contributing nine points and a game-high nine rebounds. The Eagles held a 36-31 advantage on the boards.
Both teams had their share of problems dealing with trapping defenses; Eastern Michigan turned the ball over 27 times, while the Jackrabbits finished with 22 miscues.
The Jackrabbits resume action Saturday at Northern Iowa. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
NOTES: Tuesday's game marked the first-ever meeting between SDSU and Eastern Michigan ... the Jackrabbits improved to 2-1 against Mid-American Conference opponents this season and 3-1 all-time versus MAC foes ... SDSU recorded a win over its 55th different Division I opponent since joining the D-I ranks at the start of the 2004-05 season ... the Jackrabbits have a 170-70 record against D-I foes since 2004-05 ... Waytashek has scored in double figures in seven of nine games this season and tied the 17-point outing she had Nov. 28 versus Marquette (Wis.) ... Eide's previous high for three-pointers in a game was four, against Nebraska on Nov. 18 ... Boever set a career high with six assists ... the Jackrabbits are 3-4 this season when trailing at the half ... SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston recorded his 295th career victory - all with the Jackrabbits ... the Jackrabbits held a 17-12 advantage in bench points ... SDSU committed six turnovers in the second half and only two in the final 12 minutes ... attendance was 1,431