BROOKINGS – The South Dakota State women’s basketball team came away with their fourth-straight victory Saturday as they topped the Omaha Mavericks 69-59.
The Jackrabbits led 15-12 after the first quarter, but outscored the Mavericks 21-6 in the second quarter and took a 34-18 lead into halftime. SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said he thought SDSU had more structure in the second quarter.
“Tagyn [Larson] I thought was really important during the [second quarter]. She made some plays, got them a little bit in foul trouble with matchups. I thought Tagyn was really big in that second quarter,” Johnston said.
Larson finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. The Jacks lead increased to 45-21 with 5:54 left in the third. The teams traded baskets and SDSU led 55-34 at the end of the quarter. SDSU had a lead of around 20 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Then Omaha went on a 11-2 run to end the game, but it was too little too late.
Larson led SDSU (18-7, 10-1) in scoring and in rebounds. Tylee Irwin, who has struggled this season with her 3-point shooting, shooting just 27.7% from beyond the arc, had 13 points and was 3-4 from three.
“Consistency has been kind of tough for all of our perimeter shooters at times. Tylee just took good shots today, I think that’s a big part of it. She’s really worked on her game here in the second half, since Christmas. The second half of the season she’s put a lot of time into it and I think those things always help. She’s a junior, she’s been through this a lot. She’s a multi-year starter for us. We need Tylee to continue to play well,” Johnston said.
Megan Bultsma and Paiton Burkhard each had 10 points and five rebounds. Tori Nelson had eight points and seven rebounds. SDSU shot 43.1% from the field and was 5-15 from three. The Jacks went 8-17 at the charity stripe. Johnston said he’s not worried about the team’s woes on shooting free throws.
“We’ve shot the ball so well lately, especially from the free throw line. Today was kind of one of those unusual one’s where everybody was struggling,” Johnston said.
With four women in double figures, the Jacks had a very balanced attack. SDSU has relied heavily on Burckhard, Bultsma and Larson to score most of their points and Johnston said Saturday’s performance is how he wants the box score to look every game.
“I think for a while there we had so much offense from Paiton and Megan, that we became one dimensional. Not just one player, but one spot on the floor. The second time through the conference, everybody has seen that and they have a plan for how they want to defend it. So we do need have more balance not just in terms of people, but also areas of the floor. We can’t just always go inside,” Johnston said.
Omaha (6-17, 1-9) was led by Mariah Murdie and Akili Felici who each had 15 points. Murdie also grabbed four rebounds. Josie Filer had nine points and six rebounds. Rayanna Carter had seven points, seven rebounds and four rebounds.
SDSU is heading into the home stretch of the regular season. Right now, the sit in second place in the Summit League only behind South Dakota, who is undefeated in conference play. The Jacks host Denver on Thursday at 7 p.m. and then play Purdue Fort Wayne at 1 p.m. at home on Saturday.
The Jacks will then travel to North Dakota on Feb. 20th before hosting USD on Feb. 22nd. The game against the Coyotes will likely determine if SDSU will have a share of the Summit League regular season title. Johnston said his team has to be more consistent if they want to run the table to end the season.
“We have to be more consistent offensively,” Johnston said. “Whether that’s balance, making shots, taking care of the ball. That’s always something this year that’s been a little up and down. We’ve defended really well this year and rebounded the ball really well. We’re playing really hard, we just have to find ways to consistently make shots.”
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 69, OMAHA 59
Omaha (6-17, 1-9)
Mariah Murdie 7-13 0-2 15, Akili Felici 5-7 0-0 15, Josie Filer 3-5 0-0 9, Rayanna Carter 3-10 1-2 7, Kia Wilson 1-3 2-2 4, Elena Pilakouta 2-5 0-0 4, Claire Killian 1-4 1-2 3, Sophie Johnston 1-3 0-0 2, Ella Ogier 0-5 0-0 0, Mikaela Ekdahl 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Schmitt 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 4-8 59.
South Dakota State (18-7, 10-1)
Tagyn Larson 7-14 2-6 16, Tylee Irwin 5-9 0-2 13, Paiton Burckhard 5-15 0-0 10, Megan Bultsma 5-9 0-2 10, Tori Nelson 2-3 4-5 8, Lindsey Theuninck 3-4 0-0 7, Rylie Cascio Jensen 1-5 0-0 3, Sydney Stapleton 0-3 2-2 2, Addison Hirschman 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan Ferrand 0-1 0-0 0, Lauren Rongisch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-65 8-17 69.
OMAHA 12 6 16 25 – 59
SDSU 15 21 19 14 – 69
3-point field goals – OMAHA 9-21 (Felici 5-7, Filer 3-5, Murdie 1-2, Carter 0-1, Johnston 0-1, Ogier 0-2, Killian 0-3), SDSU 5-15 (Irwin 3-4, Theuninck 1-2, Cascio Jensen 1-4, Larson 0-2, Stapleton 0-3). Rebounds – OMAHA 36 (Filer 6), SDSU 40 (Larson 9). Assists – OMAHA 19 (Carter 7), SDSU 21 (Cascio Jensen 6). Steals – OMAHA 5 (Filer, Felici 2), SDSU 9 (Theuninck, Cascio Jensen, Burckhard 2). Blocks – OMAHA 0, SDSU 3 (Larson 2). Turnovers – OMAHA 17, SDSU 8. Total fouls – OMAHA 18, SDSU 9. Fouled out – OMAHA Murdie. Technical fouls – none. A – 2,929.