Indiana Head Coach Curt Miller told the Hoosiers they'd have to be ten points better than SDSU to win at Frost Arena. I-U played the Jacks even most of the way Sunday, and lost by a dozen. It's that home-cooking that's helped SDSU advance to the WNIT Final Four.
"Both teams played well. Both teams made a lot of big plays. We probably just hit a couple more big threes right towards the end when we really needed them. Hannah had a couple, and Steph had one in there where Indiana made some good pushes to get back in the game and get close, and it just seemed like we hit a lot of real big timely shots when we needed to," SDSU Head Coach Aaron Johnston said.
Those timely shots propelled SDSU past Indiana, extending the Jacks' win streak at Frost Arena to 21 consecutive games, while securing the team a spot in the WNIT semifinals.
"Team's excited, but they're not bouncing off the walls. They're not just going nuts. They're very excited and they're enjoying every part of it, but I know I've said in these press conferences all year, our team is very even keel in a great way. They don't get too up or too down. So, if things don't go well or if now they feel on top of the world, they don't act like it either. They just stay right where they need to be, and that's great quality about this team," Johnston said.
"You want to be playing your best basketball, and we are. Yeah, survive and advance. Keep it going. Find an out. It's a lot of fun. It really is," SDSU Senior Steph Paluch said.
Another secret behind the Jacks' success is the team's balanced attack on offense.
"We are a very balanced team, and on any given night people can have big games, and it helps that scorers can have big games. Everyone just played well together. We were passing the ball. We were crashing the boards, and it was just really fun out there," SDSU Junior Megan Waytashek said.
"We're getting good things from everybody, but if you look at the juniors and seniors, they're playing really well. Maybe not every single game, we've played four now in the post-season, and no one is perfect every game, but for the most part, that group has been exceptional," Johnston said.
SDSU will play at the University of Texas-El Paso in the WNIT semifinals, Wednesday night at 8:00 central time. The trip from Brookings to El Paso, Texas, 1204 miles. UTEP beat Washington in Monday night's quarterfinals, 70-63, with more than ten-thousand fans in attendance. The WNIT Final Four will consist of SDSU, UTEP, South Florida, and Rutgers. The WNIT Championship game is Saturday at 2:00 at a site to be determined, and will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.