Jackrabbits run past Bison
FARGO, N.D. -- South Dakota State dominated the final 11 minutes of the first half and cruised to a 94-70 victory at North Dakota State in the Summit League women's basketball regular season finale for both teams Saturday night at the Bison Sports Arena.
The league-champion Jackrabbits, who set season highs for points, field goal percentage and field goals made, improved to 22-7 overall and 14-2 in Summit League play. NDSU dropped to 10-18 overall, 6-10 in league play.
Leading 15-13, the Jackrabbits scored 12 of the next 16 points to build a double-digit lead for the first time. Megan Waytashek scored on a traditional three-point play and added a three-point basket from the left wing to fuel the run and reserve forward Mariah Clarin added a pair of inside baskets.
Ashley Eide scored seven consecutive points, including a pair of three-pointers, and Rachel Walters added a triple to complete another 10-0 spurt as SDSU built the lead to 41-20 with 4 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Jackrabbit bench factored prominently into the outburst, scoring half of the team's points in the opening stanza. SDSU led 54-27 at intermission on the strength of 55.6 percent (20-of-36) shooting from the field.
SDSU quickly built the lead to 30 points, 61-31, in the second half before the Bison found their rhythm offensively. Jamie Van Kirk jump-started an 18-4 run with back-to-back three-pointers and Dani DeGagne added a pair of baskets as NDSU pulled to within 65-49.
The Bison further cut into the deficit, closing to 69-57 with 9:44 to play after two more three-pointers by Van Kirk.
However, the Jackrabbits quickly regrouped, scoring the next nine points to end any hopes of a North Dakota State comeback.
Eide paced four Jackrabbit players in double figures with 22. Clarin scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, followed by 15 from Waytashek. Katie Lingle rounded out the double-figure scorers for SDSU with 13 points.
SDSU, which committed a season-low six turnovers, finished the night 35-of-66 from the field for a season-best 53 percent. The Jackrabbits were 5-of-14 from beyond the arc and 19-of-22 at the line, 86.4 percent.
Leah Dietel hauled in a team-high nine rebounds to pace the Jackrabbits' 40-30 advantage on the boards.
DeGagne did her best to keep the Bison within striking distance, posting a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. VanKirk finished with 19 points.
The Bison ended the game 24-of-59 from the field, 40.7 percent, including 9-of-22 from three-point range. At the line, NDSU was 13-of-17, 76.5 percent.
SDSU enters next week’s Summit League Basketball Championship as the top seed. The Jackrabbits will open tournament play at noon next Saturday (March 9) versus Oakland at the Sioux Falls Arena.
NOTES: SDSU gained a 39-38 advantage in the series ... the Jackrabbits have won the last six meetings and 16 of the last 17, including eight in a row in Fargo ... SDSU's 54 first-half points were the most points in any half this season ... the Jackrabbits finished with a 43-8 advantage in bench points ... SDSU improved to 15-1 when leading at the half ... the Jackrabbits shot at least 50 percent from the field for the fifth time this season ... Eide reached the 20-point mark against the Bison for the third time in the last four meetings ... Waytashek recorded a career-high six assists ... attendance was 2,043 at the Bison Sports Arena