Young leads SDSU women to fourth straight Summit title gameSIOUX FALLS — The South Dakota State University women’s basketball team is one game away from its fourth consecutive Summit League tournament championship.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
SIOUX FALLS — The South Dakota State University women’s basketball team is one game away from its fourth consecutive Summit League tournament championship.
The Jackrabbits took down Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 79-54 Monday in the semifinals of the Summit League tournament at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The Jacks (23-8) will play the University of Missouri-Kansas City (22-10) at 3 p.m., today in the Sioux Falls Arena for the Summit League championship and an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
SDSU led the Jaguars by 10 after the first half at 34-24 and then opened the game early in the second half to seal the game’s fate.
Mitchell native Jill Young hit three 3-point shots in the opening two minutes of the second half to put the Jacks up 45-27.
Young was held scoreless in the first half for the second straight game but finished with a game-high 14 points. She also led the team with eight rebounds.
“When (Young) makes threes the crowd responds,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said. “That was where the game changed.”
IUPUI never got closer than 17 points after Young’s third bucket.
Young is sitting at 298 career 3-pointers, which is second in Summit League history.
Anne Boese of Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne finished this season with 79 3-pointers to end her career with 301. The two women started the season tied with 222 career 3-pointers.
One key play that helped give SDSU momentum in the first half could hurt its chances moving forward.
The Jacks trailed 16-15 with less than eight minutes left in the first half, when they got a 3-pointer from Gabrielle Boever to take the lead, 18-16.
On the next Jaguars possession, Steph Paluch recorded a steal as the crowd was on its feet and Paluch drove down for a layup to give SDSU a four point lead.
Paluch fell to the floor after the bucket and was unable to return to the game. Johnston said that Paluch will not be returning to the court for the remainder of the season.
“Steph made a great play to get the steal and the bucket,” Young said. “When that happened we were kind of emotional about it, but in those times we just have to come together and I think we did that.”
The team rallied around the loss of Paluch on Monday, but the championship game will prove how effec-tive the team can be without the junior guard who averaged 6.6 points a game for SDSU.
“These things can go both ways,” Johnston said. “It can be an anchor and hold you back or it can also be a rallying point and I hope the team looks at it that way.”
For the game, the Jacks shot 29-of-66 from the field for 44 percent and 12-of-16 from the free-throw line. They brought down 51 rebounds compared to only 34 for the Jaguars.
Senior Jennie Sunnarborg had 13 points on the game, while Ashley Eide and Boever each tallied 12 points.
“We’re excited,” Young said about heading into her fourth Summit League championship game. “It’s where we wanted to end up. We can’t just let down now and I don’t think we will. We know what it takes to win.”