SDSU beats top-seeded ORU 79-75 in overtime in Summit League championship game
SIOUX FALLS -- It was crunch time, and things weren't going the way Kristin Rotert was hoping.
The South Dakota State women's basketball team was surrendering its late nine-point lead, and for a while, it seemed like Rotert couldn't do anything right.
The former McCook Central standout turned the ball over four times in five possessions and missed what could have been the game-winning 3-pointer with 24 seconds left on the clock.
Luckily, for the Jackrabbits, Oral Roberts missed its game-winning shot to end regulation.
With a free throw with 3.7 seconds left in overtime, Rotert upped SDSU's lead to four, helping seal her team's second straight Summit League Conference tournament championship with a 79-75 win over the Golden Eagles at Sioux Falls Arena Tuesday.
"Personally, for me, I know I struggled quite a bit in the last four or five minutes," Rotert said. "That's no secret. I can't hide it.
"I knew that I had to keep playing, because there's nothing you can do. If I get an open shot, I had to shoot it with confidence."
In the last four minutes of regulation, Rotert missed two open looks and had four turnovers.
Things didn't get much better early in overtime, either.
She missed two 3-point attempts, but thanks to SDSU's defense, neither team scored in the first two-plus minutes of the extra period.
Then, instead of shooting from long range, Rotert dribbled down the baseline and scored on a layup to give her team a 71-69 lead with 2:35 remaining.
From there, SDSU never gave up the lead.
Mitchell native Jill Young knocked down two free throws to keep the Jackrabbits in front, and Rotert sealed the game when she stole the ball from ORU to be fouled and then hit 1-of-2 from the line with 3.7 to go.
"I couldn't be more excited and happy to step to the free-throw line," Rotert said. "As bad as that game was, for it to fall on my shoulders and to give me a chance to redeem myself was exactly what I wanted."
Rotert finished with a team-high 21 points and, along with tournament MVP Maria Boever and Ketty Cornemann, was named to the all-tournament team.
"I thought Kristin played exceptionally well," SDSU coach Aaron Johnston said. "I know she had about a two-and-a-half minute stretch where she was not at her best, but she really carried us with some of the shots she hit.
"She not only hit a free throw late, but she had a couple of plays where she penetrated to the basket in overtime and had one lay in and found someone else for an open look. She made the plays when she had to. I just tried to get her to calm down."
Rotert scored the first points of the game for the Jackrabbits, who, going into the tournament, were the third seed.
SDSU punched its second-ever ticket to the NCAA tournament by upsetting the top-seeded Golden Eagles.
Rotert, a Salem native, hit two 3-pointers in the first five minutes for SDSU and another at the 9:41 mark to give her team a 21-19 lead.
From there, SDSU held the lead until there were 48 seconds left in regulation.
Young -- who went 1-for-9 from the field -- hit her only shot of the game as the shot clock expired with 7:05 left in the first half, giving SDSU a 26-22 advantage. She finished with five points.
Oral Roberts pulled within two on a 3-pointer with 3:36 to go in the half, but behind a 3-pointer from Rotert and another by Macie Michelson as the half buzzer sounded, the Jacks pulled ahead 44-37.
SDSU's lead stayed at or above five until there were about 13 minutes left. ORU went on an 8-1 run to get within 57-56, but Maria Boever scored three straight baskets for the Jacks and blocked a Golden Eagles' shot.
That run gave SDSU another nine-point lead, which dissipated slowly by the end of regulation on turnovers and a press defense from ORU.
After the game was tied at 69 with less than a minute to go, Rotert got an open look from behind the arc that lipped the rim and gave ORU the ball back with 24 seconds left. The Golden Eagles' 3-pointer bounced off the rim as time expired.
"We stopped moving and we got really passive," Rotert said. "We were trying to slow things down, and we did that too much."
In overtime, the Jacks outscored ORU 10-6 on eight free throws and Rotert's base-line layup.
"We really survived I felt like at the end more than pulled away and won it," Johnston said.
For the third straight game, the Jacks' defense held their opponent to under 40 percent from the field.
ORU hit 39 percent of its field goals, including 11-of-25 from behind the arc.
The Jacks hit 43 percent from the field and tied the tournament record with 13 three-point shots made.
Maria Boever finished with 18 points and Ketty Cornemann, who was celebrating her birthday, had 17.
SDSU 79, ORU 75 (OT)
South Dakota State University (23-9)
Jennifer Schuttloffel 2-2 2-2 6, Ketty Cornemann 5-8 4-5 17, Maria Boever 7-11 4-6 18, Macie Michelson 3-6 0-1 9, Kristin Rotert 7-21 1-2 21, Jill Young 1-9 2-2 5, Alison Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Eide 0-0 0-0 0, Jennie Sunnarborg 1-4 1-1 3. Totals: 26-61 14-19 79.
Oral Roberts University (22-10)
Savanna Buck 2-6 2-2 8, Jordan Pyle 6-10 0-1 12, Janae Voelker 3-7 2-2 10, Kevi Luper 5-16 5-6 17, Jaci Bigham 8-20 7-7 28, Noelia Quintas 0-1 0-0 0, Kelly Kindell 0-0 0-0 0, Cristal Turner 0-2 0-0 0, Dominique Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Adekunle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-62 16-18 75.
SDSU 44 69 79
ORU 37 69 65
3-Pointers: SDSU 13-38 (Rotert 6, Cornemann 3, Young), ORU 11-25 (Bigham 5, Luper, Voelker and Buck 2). Rebounds: SDSU 41 (Cornemann 10), ORU 36 (Voelker 9). Assists: SDSU 21 (Rotert 6), ORU 9 (Bigham 4). Turnovers: SDSU 26, ORU 24.