(Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)

South Dakota State started the second half of the Summit League schedule the same way they ended every game in the first half - with a win.

The Jackrabbits rode red hot shooting early to a 77-66 win over the Mastodons, running their conference win streak to eight games. The win is SDSU's 22nd in 23 meetings with Fort Wayne.

What a difference a month makes.

When SDSU hosted Fort Wayne in January in Brookings, it was all Mastodons early, as the visitors raced out to a 14-0 lead at Frost Arena, before the Jackrabbits came all the way back to win by 17.

In Fort Wayne Thursday night, it was SDSU out of the gate early, shooting 53 percent in the first 11 minutes, knocking down three 3-pointers, and leading the Mastodons 27-9.

Fort Wayne came into the game as the top scoring team in the Summit League (78 points per game) and number one in the conference in both three-point attempts (194) and makes (74), boasting the top two scorers in the Summit League: Haley Seibert (23 points per game) and Amanda Hyde (22 points per game).

But, the Mastodons struggled shooting the basketball in the first 20 minutes on their home floor, hitting just 20 percent from the floor and missing their first nine 3-pointers before finally connecting from long range more than 13 minutes into the game.

The Jacks stretched the first half lead to as many as 25, the margin at intermission was 22 - SDSU 46 IPFW 24.

In the first half, the Jacks shot 53 percent to just 29 percent for the Mastodons.  SDSU dropped in six 3-ponters, IPFW just 3 on 13 attempts.

Mariah Clarin had nine points and seven rebounds to lead the Jacks, Hannah Strop and Clarissa Ober had eight.

Chynna Stevens had six rebounds, as SDSU dominated the boards in the first half 24-12, with six offensive rebounds leading to eight second chance points.  The Jacks outscored the Dons 20-6 in the paint in the first 20 minutes.

The SDSU defense kept a lid on the top scoring duo in the Summit League, limiting Seibert and Hyde to nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.

In the second half, Seibert found her scoring touch, pouring in 19 of her 23 points in the final 20 minutes, shooting her team to within 10 with 1:30 left, but the Mastodons would get no closer.

Strop and Stevens led SDSU with 16 points each.  Clarin and Megan Waytashek each had nine rebounds, as the Jacks won the battle of the boards by 12 (45-33), outscored IPFW 30-14 in the paint and 17-4 on 2nd chance points.

South Dakota State (17-7/8-0) plays at second place IUPUI Saturday at 2:00pm.

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