SIOUX FALLS – The Jackrabbits are No. 1, again.
South Dakota State won the rubber game with South Dakota, defeating the Coyotes 83-71 in the Summit League Women’s Basketball Championship final on Tuesday afternoon at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
“It’s a great day for South Dakota State, for our women’s basketball program,” said SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston, whose team improved to 26-6 with its 16th consecutive victory. “I’m just so thrilled to be a part of the championship. I’m just thrilled to be a part of a team with so many great young women that represent SDSU in such a positive, exciting way. And to see them go out there on the floor and get another championship makes me a pretty happy camper.
“USD had a phenomenal year and hopefully they continue to play the same way we get to continue to play. But I’m just really proud of what these young women did; excited to see what comes next.”
Tournament MVP Macy Miller broke the league’s career scoring record, finishing with a game-high 30 points – the most ever by a Jackrabbit in a tourney game – while adding 11 rebounds.
“It’s something special,” the Mitchell native said when asked about breaking the record in a big game. “There are a lot of great names up there. But I have to give credit to my teammates and coaches, just for finding me at the right times. And just for my coaches having the confidence in me.
“It’s obviously going to be something special winning the Summit League tournament along with it.”
An 11-0 USD run that bridged the first and second quarters put the Coyotes ahead 26-16.
Trailing by nine, SDSU got rolling with a 22-2 run.
Madison Guebert, who finished with 22 points, was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all the free throws.
Miller went on the attack and converted a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays – the second of which broke the league scoring mark and knotted the game at 32-all at the 4:28 mark of the second.
Miller then connected from deep as the PREMIER Center volume peaked.
“In the moment, I probably don’t appreciate it as much as the fans do and everybody else,” said Johnston of Miller’s personal 9-0 spurt. “At that time, we were just trying to manage foul trouble; trying to get back in the game. We didn’t start the way we needed to; we were a little bit flat I thought offensively; foul trouble hurt us.
“And then Macy just kind of found a way to make some plays there. We got a couple of stops. Obviously, Riley (Cascio Jensen) made a couple big 3s during that stretch, but Macy really seemed to be the catalyst to kind of get everybody going.
“She played elite basketball in this whole tournament. She really has all year, but I think in this tournament she was an elite player and scored in so many ways – some of those were in transition, and-ones, made 3s, free throws. We played her literally today at the 1, 2, 3 and 4, so she’s having to manage a bunch of different things going on at the same time.
“And other players do, too, but Macy was elite all day and that stretch was as good as we can play and certainly Macy was a big part of that.”
USD’s Madison McKeever temporarily halted the run with a pair of free throws, before Tagyn Larson scored in the paint and Lindsey Theuninck hit two foul shots.
Cascio Jensen stepped up next, canning back-to-back treys as the Jackrabbits grabbed a 45-34 advantage.
“I’m so proud of how this team kept its composure,” said Guebert. “No one panicked and there wasn’t any negativity. All the talks that we were having was ‘hey, we’re going to get it; we’re going to chip away at it.’ So I think just the positivity and the composure our team played with during that time was really what pushed us forward. And then we had some people making some big shots to really give us that extra push.”
SDSU led 45-38 at halftime.
The Jackrabbits continued to push in the third period, outscoring USD 23-11 to open up a 68-49 advantage.
The Coyotes never went away and eventually pulled within eight at 76-68 with 1:16 remaining. However, that would be as close as they’d get as the Jackrabbits prevailed.
SDSU shot 50 percent (24-of-48) from the field, including a 9-of-18 mark from long range, and went 26-of-28 at the free-throw line.
South Dakota junior Ciara Duffy, a first-team all-league selection, went down with an ankle injury after scoring on a drive to the bucket at the 6:26 mark of the first quarter.
She re-entered a few minutes later but wasn’t the same from a mobility and explosiveness standpoint, finishing with four points in 15 minutes of action.
The Coyotes’ Allison Arens scored 26 points and grabbed seven boards before fouling out. Chloe Lamb added 14 points.
Hannah Sjerven was again a force off the bench, totaling 13 points and nine rebounds to help USD to a 39-34 advantage on the glass, including 19-4 on the offensive end.
South Dakota (28-5) is likely to receive an at-large berth to the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Selection Show is Monday at 6 p.m. and will air live on ESPN.
The three-time Tournament MVP finished with a 12-0 record in her career in the event. She was also MVP in 2016 and 2018.
Miller scored 72 points in this season’s tourney.
She now has 2,295 career points in 141 games. The previous Summit League record of 2,277 was held by Oral Roberts’ Kevi Luper (2009-12; 95 games). The Golden Eagles left the Summit League for the Southland Conference prior to Luper’s senior season. She finished with 2,867 career points in 126 games overall.
Miller has six 30-point games and seven double-doubles.
SDSU improved to 28-2 in the Summit League tournament.
The Jackrabbits have won nine titles in 11 years of eligibility – 2009-13, 2015-16, 2018-19.
SDSU is 9-0 in title games, including a 5-0 mark versus USD. The Jackrabbits also beat the Coyotes in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Macy Miller, SDSU (MVP)
Madison Guebert, SDSU
Tagyn Larson, SDSU
Allison Arens, USD
Hannah Sjerven, USD
SDSU and USD are 27th and 28th, respectively, in the AP poll. … The Coyotes beat the Jackrabbits 105-98 in double overtime on Jan. 6 in Vermillion. SDSU beat USD 82-78 in overtime on Feb. 24 in Brookings. … Guebert has 1,787 points and 360 3-pointers in her career. She moved from 12th to 11th in Summit League history in points and remained fourth in the SDSU ranks.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 83, SOUTH DAKOTA 71
South Dakota (28-5)
Taylor Frederick 1-5 1-4 3, Allison Arens 8-20 7-7 26, Chloe Lamb 2-11 8-8 14, Madison McKeever 1-7 0-0 2, Ciara Duffy 2-3 0-0 4, Claudia Kunzer 0-1 0-0 0, Liv Korngable 0-1 0-0 0, Monica Arens 4-13 0-0 9, Hannah Sjerven 5-10 3-4 13. Totals 23-71 19-23 71.
South Dakota State (26-6)
Tagyn Larson 2-5 4-4 8, Myah Selland 2-5 2-2 6, Madison Guebert 5-10 9-10 22, Macy Miller 10-19 6-6 30, Tylee Irwin 2-4 3-4 7, Rylie Cascio Jensen 2-3 0-0 6, Lindsey Theuninck 0-0 2-2 2, Sydney Palmer 0-0 0-0 0, Paiton Burckhard 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-48 26-28 83.
South Dakota 17 21 11 22 – 71
South Dakota State 15 30 23 15 – 83
3-point goals – USD 6-27 (A. Arens 3-6, Lamb 2-6, M. Arens 1-6, Frederick 0-1, Duffy 0-1, Korngable 0-1, Sjerven 0-1, McKeever 0-5); SDSU 9-18 (Miller 4-7, Guebert 3-6, Cascio Jensen 2-3, Selland 0-1, Irwin 0-1). Rebounds – USD 39 (Sjerven 9); SDSU 34 (Miller 11). Assists – USD 7 (A. Arens 2, Duffy 2); SDSU 17 (Selland 4, Theuninck 4). Steals – USD 6 (A. Arens 3); SDSU 8 (Irwin 4). Blocks – USD 4 (Sjerven 4); SDSU 2 (Miller, Irwin). Turnovers – USD 10; SDSU 14. Total fouls – USD 22; SDSU 24. Fouled out – A. Arens, Sjerven, Larson. Technical fouls – None. A – 7,871.