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Photo by: South Dakota State University

Jackrabbits complete three-peat

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 03/08/2011 21:37:22
SIOUX FALLS - South Dakota State became the first women's basketball team to win three consecutive Summit League women's basketball tournament championships, claiming a 61-54 victory over Oakland at the Sioux Falls Arena Tuesday afternoon.

The Jackrabbits earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Tournament as they won for the eighth straight game and 11th time in 12 games and will take a 19-13 record into the tourney after starting the season 4-9. Pairings will be announced at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 14.

Senior Kristin Rotert, named the tourney MVP, led the Jacks with 17 points while Jennie Sunnarborg just missed a double-double with 13 points and a career-high nine assists. SDSU's ball movement led to 20 assists on 24 field goals.

Sophomore Katie Lingle, who joined the starting lineup in mid-season, added 13 points, six rebounds, two blocked shots and a pair of assists, and was also named to the all-tournament team.

Junior Jill Young, averaging 10 points per game, had just one free throw but finished with a team high nine rebounds.

Oakland, which finished 20-12, led early in the game, never by more than four, before SDSU tied the game at 15 on a three-pointer by Rotert. After Sunnarborg scored for SDSU, Malika Glover tied the game at 17 before the Jacks took the lead for good on a layup by Rotert.

SDSU led 33-29 at the half and built its biggest lead at 53-43 on a three-pointer by Jennifer Schuttloffel with 6:33 to play.

Oakland closed within three, 57-54, after a trio of three-pointers - two by Anna Patritto and one by Bethany Watterworth - but single free throws by Sunnarborg and Young, and finally two by Rotert with 14 seconds left, provided the final margin.

Oakland, which advanced to the title game by knocking off top seed Oral Roberts in the semi-finals, had three players in double figures: Watterworth with 17, Sharise Calhoun with 12 and Zakiya Minifee with 10 pointsand 10 rebounds. Calhoun and Watterworth were each named to the all-tournament team.

SDSU shot 45 percent, 24-of-53, from the field, while OU came in at 40 percent, 21-of-52. OU had a 34-31 rebounding advantage, but the Jacks were plus-five in turnovers after committing a season-low 10 miscues.

NOTES: The Jackrabbits improved to 7-3 in the all-time series, including a pair of wins in Summit League championship games (2009, 2011) ... SDSU is 9-0 all-time in the Summit League postseason tournament ... the Jackrabbits' senior class of Kristin Rotert, Macie Michelson and Jennifer Schuttloffel have been part of teams that have compiled a 96-34 record ... Rotert moved into eighth on the SDSU career scoring charts with 1,477 points, passing Leah Klaassen (1,466 points from 1995-98) ... with three three-pointers on Tuesday, Rotert also moved into one three-pointer of tying Brenda Davis (250 three-pointers from 2001-04) for the Jackrabbit career record ... Young had her streak of 22 games with a made three-pointer end as she went 0-for-4 from behind the arc ... Sunnarborg's previous career high for assists was four ... SDSU is 18-2 this season when leading at the half ... the Jackrabbits' current eight-game winning streak is their longest since rattling off 18 consecutive wins during the 2008-09 season ... attendance was 4,071

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