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Jackrabbits' Miller forges more Summit history

SIOUX FALLS--Macy Miller didn't leave much doubt on Tuesday. With 30 points and 11 rebounds in an 83-71 victory over the Jackrabbits' archrivals, the Mitchell native and fifth-year senior guard for South Dakota State University asserted herself a...

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South Dakota State University's Macy Miller celebrates a basket after being fouled by University of South Dakota's Allison Arens, second from left, while SDSU's Tagyn Larson (24) also celebrates during the Summit League tournament championship on Tuesday at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls. Also pictured is as University of South Dakota's Monica Arens (11) and Ciara Duffy (24). (Matt Gade / Republic)

SIOUX FALLS-Macy Miller didn't leave much doubt on Tuesday.

With 30 points and 11 rebounds in an 83-71 victory over the Jackrabbits' archrivals, the Mitchell native and fifth-year senior guard for South Dakota State University asserted herself as the greatest player the Summit League women's basketball tournament has seen.

Miller is now 12-0 in the four Summit tournament games she's played (she missed the 2017 event with a knee injury), and all four of those championships were capped with victories over the University of South Dakota.

Miller scored 280 points in the event, averaging 23.3 points and 6.6 rebounds in Summit tournament history, with a 55.3 percent shooting, 48.7 percent from 3-point territory and 81.1 percent from the free-throw line.

On Tuesday, she played with a fire and intensity that is not commonly seen from the 6-foot Jackrabbit legend, but Miller said she knew what was at stake. When Miller was taken out of the game in the final minute, the tears started to flow in celebration and relief.

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"It's my last one and we knew we wanted to go out with a bang," Miller said. "We were down 10 and we knew we couldn't get flustered, we just have to keep chipping away at it ... At the end, I started to cry a little bit when I came out because it was such a relief to get that victory.

SDSU coach Aaron Johnston called Miller a "program-changer" on the court following the victory, and noted she's played extremely well with the pressure of being from a special South Dakota basketball family, that counts Macy's father, Alan, her talented siblings, and her cousin, Mike, among the state's greatest scorers to ever play basketball in the state.

"There's some pressure there, there's some expectation there," Johnston said. "She's in the state of South Dakota, playing on this stage against your rival, to every time to answer that bell, she's phenomenal. It's because she's a phenomenal person that she's able to do these things on the court."

Johnston said Miller was the team's catalyst to get everything going Tuesday, helping the Jackrabbits to rally from a double-digit deficit in the first half. He noted that he played Miller in positions 1-through-4 on the court during the championship game.

"She played elite basketball in this tournament, she really has all year," he said. "In this tournament, she was an elite player and scorer in so many ways."

Miller also has a habit of taking it out on the Coyotes, as well. Miller now has seven career double-doubles, and four of those have come against USD, including in the last three Summit League championship games she's played in. Miller scored 89 points in three games against USD this year, and improved her average to 21.3 points per game against the Coyotes in her career.

As if there wasn't enough history being made, Miller claimed the Summit League's all-time scoring record that she's been chasing all year, passing Oral Roberts' Kevi Luper who totaled 2,277 points in three seasons before Golden Eagles left the conference for a few years in 2012.

Miller now stands at 2,295 points for her career. Luper also averaged 23.3 points per game in her six Summit League tournament games, as well, just like Miller.

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Miller said she's looking forward to playing more basketball in the NCAA tournament, something she'll do for a fourth time starting next week.

"Every game could be my last, and that's just what I think," Miller said of her mindset. "I'm going to come out and work as hard as I can, whether that being my teammates coming out and stepping up and helping them out or driving to the basket, whatever I can do for any of my teammates.

Teammate Myah Selland called Miller's 10-for-19 shooting performance a case of "Macy being Macy."

"All I know is that I'm glad she's on my team," Selland said. "She's a great player and she showed everyone why again today."

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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