Jackrabbits Score 28 Straight, Beat Creighton In WNIT Second Round Game
South Dakota State played one of their best stretches of basketball this season, turning a 12-point first half deficit into a 62-51 win over Creighton Sunday afternoon in round two of the WNIT, in front of 2,152 at Frost Arena in Brookings.
The Jackrabbit defense was the star in this game, limiting the Bluejays to just 32 percent shooting (5-for-20 from behind the 3-point arc), grabbing eight steals, and forcing 13 turnovers in SDSU’s first ever win over Creighton in six tries.
Both teams ran hot and cold in the first half.
The Bluejays got three straight baskets from Sarah Nelson early in the game and grabbed a six point lead in the first three minutes.
The Jackrabbits meanwhile were trying to find their shooting touch, going just 3-for-12 from the floor, while Creighton was ripping off 10 straight points to push their lead to 20-8 at the midway point of the half.
It was at that moment, with Nelson on the bench with two fouls, that SDSU ramped up their defensive pressure, with Megan Waytashek, Chynna Stevens, and Gabby Boever each collecting steals, limiting the Bluejays to 1-for-10 shooting over the final 7:30, which seemed to spark SDSU on the offensive end as the Jackrabbits exploded for the final 16 points of the first half to lead 29-25 at intermission. Mariah Clarin led the way with 7 points, as SDSU outscored Creighton 16-6 in the paint in the first 20 minutes.
The Jackrabbits kept up their torrid pace to start the second half, as Boever forced more errors on the offensive end for the Bluejays, while SDSU poured in the first 12 points of the half to push their overall run to 28-0. During that stretch, Creighton was 0-for-13 from the floor with eight turnovers.
The lead was as many as 19 in the second half, before the Bluejays showed some signs of life late, as Big East Player of the Year Marissa Janning scored five late points to trim the SDSU lead to nine in the final two minutes.
Despite scoring 11 points, Janning was just 3-for-12 from the floor.
Steph Paluch led the Jackrabbits with 19 points, Waytashek added 11, Boever had 10 points and four steals. Hannah Strop had seven rebounds.
South Dakota State (24-9) now hosts Minnesota in the WNIT’s third round, Thursday night at 7:00pm in Brookings.