Eighth-seeded South Dakota State spotted number-nine Villanova a 15-point lead and never led in regulation, but stiil managed to force overtime before losing 81-74 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, in Notre Dame, Indiana.

Down 68-65 with 7.8 seconds left, the Jackrabbits ran a play for their best outside shooter and Madison Guebert responded, banking in a three-pointer as time expired, sending the game into an extra five-minute period.

In overtime, SDSU ran out of gas, as the Wildcats scored 11 of the first 13 points, keyed by back-to-back three-pointers from Jannah Tucker, to secure a trip to round two.

Three-point shooting was the key story line of the game, as Villanova made 16 long range shots, outscoring the Jackrabbits by 39 points from long range.

The long ball barrage began in the first quarter as SDSU opened the game in a zone defense and the Wildcats took advantage. Villanova poured in six three-pointers in the first ten minutes - Adrianna Hahn with three of them - and led by 15 (26-11) after one quarter.

South Dakota State shot just 36 percent in the quarter.

The Summit League Tournament champs switched things up defensively in the second and saw immediate results, forcing three quick turnovers and getting five straight points from Madison Guebert to cut the lead to eight.

But Villanova went back to the long ball just before intermission hitting a pair of three’s in the final minute to take a 38-27 lead into the locker room. The Wildcats knocked down ten triples in the first 20 minutes.

The second half began with an immediate three-pointer from Villanova, but that would be the last field goal they would score for the next five minutes.

South Dakota State took advantage of six straight Wildcat misses to score eight straight points, cutting the lead to six. Ellie Thompson had back-to-back baskets during the run.

By the early stages of the fourth quarter Villanova had rebuilt the lead to 12 when the Jackrabbits got hot. SDSU grabbed the momentum after Macy Miller was fouled intentionally by Alex Louin. When the dust settled, South Dakota State had scored 13 of the next 15 points to trail by just one with 2:58 left.

The Wildcats pushed the lead to five with 33 seconds left, but missed a pair of free throws late to keep the Jackrabbits within one possesson.

After Hahn made two free throws to put Villanova up 68-65 with 7.8 seconds left, Wildcat head coach Harry Perretta rolled the dice and call timeout, despite South Dakota having to go the length of the floor without the ability to stop the clock.

Miller made him pay when she drove to the top of the three-point arc and dished to a heavily-guarded Guebert on her left. The three-pointer at the buzzer was just SDSU third of the night on 16 attempts.

Miller led the Jackrabbits with 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Guebert added 21 points. Thompson had 16 points and seven rebounds.

Hahn hit six three’s and finshed with 24 points. Tucker added 20 points. Louin had 10 points and 14 rebounds.

South Dakota State finishes the year 26-7. The Jacks fall to 2-8 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.

Villanova (23-8) gets top-seeded Notre Dame in round two, Sunday.


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