Senior Steph Paluch (Pierre) led three Jackrabbits in double figures as South Dakota State defeated Denver, 72-61, in Summit League women’s basketball action Thursday in front of 1,751 fans in Frost Arena.
Paluch scored a team-high 14 points while junior Megan Waytashek (Lino Lakes, Minn.) and senior Tara Heiser (Watertown) each added 11 points. Senior Hannah Strop (New Prague, Minn.) grabbed a team-best seven rebounds.
After SDSU had a five-point (32-27) lead at halftime, the Pioneers cut the Jackrabbits’ lead to one, 32-31 when Theresa Wirth made a layup with 19:06 left. After trading layups, a three-pointer from Strop ignited an 8-2 SDSU run that put the Jacks up 42-35 with 16:36 remaining.
South Dakota State stretched its lead to 10 points, 50-40, when Waytashek hit the Jackrabbits’ second three-pointer of the half. Denver came back to pull within three, 50-47, when Paige Bradley made a three and a pair of layups with 10 minutes left.
SDSU and Denver traded layups and three-pointers for the next six-plus minutes until Heiser and junior Gabby Boever (Worthington, Minn.) hit back-to-back three-pointers, Heiser sank two free throws and Clarin one, and the Jackrabbits were back up by 11 points, 66-55, with 1:28 remaining.
South Dakota State finished the game making 6 of 10 free throws.
In the first half, SDSU used an 8-2 run to erase a six-point deficit and tie the game at 12 with 12:01 on the clock. Strop and Paluch each made three-pointers while Waytashek made a pair of free throws to push the Jacks’ lead to 20-12.
The Jackrabbits largest lead of the half came when freshman Kerri Young (Mitchell) sank a three-pointer at the 5:23 mark to put SDSU up 28-17. Denver then cut the Jacks’ lead to five, 32-27, at the half when Bradley made a pair of free throws and Morgan Van Riper-Rose sank a three-pointer with 1:05 left in the half.
South Dakota State shot 44.2 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from three-point range and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line. The Jacks’ 10 three-pointers were the most since making 12 vs. Northern Iowa Nov. 17.
Bradley led Denver with a game-high 24 points while Van Riper-Rose added 14 points and Kailey Edwards 11 points and team-high eight rebounds.
State bragging rights will be on the line when South Dakota State hosts long-time in-state rival South Dakota Sunday at 1 p.m. in the South Dakota Showdown Series game at Frost Arena.
Courtesy: Michele Schmidt, SDSU