Freshman Chynna Stevens (Clark) scored nine-straight points late in the first half as the South Dakota State women’s basketball team (23-9) defeated Butler (15-16), 78-61, in the first round of the Women’s NIT Thursday night in front of 1,812 fans in Frost Arena.
Stevens sank a three-point field goal with 2:18 left in the half to give SDSU a 29-25 lead. She later made a layup, a free throw and another three-pointer as SDSU took a 35-27 lead with 59 seconds remaining in the first half. Senior guard Steph Paluch (Pierre) then gave the Jackrabbits a 38-27 lead when she sank a half-court three-pointer that beat the buzzer.
The win extends the Jackrabbits’ home win streak to 18 games, dating to last season. SDSU will play Creighton, which defeated Missouri, 77-51, at 2 p.m. Sunday at Frost Arena in the WNIT’s second round. Creighton defeated the Jackrabbits, 68-63, Nov. 12 in Omaha.
Junior forward Mariah Clarin (Princeton, Minn.) recorded her third double-double the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Paluch added 14 points and a team-high five assists.
Stevens finished with 13 points and junior guard Megan Waytashek (Lino Lakes, Minn.) scored 11 points, all in the second half.
Butler’s Taylor Schippers scored a game-high 17 points while Liz Stratman added 15 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.