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Jacks bury Omaha in semis

SIOUX FALLS--Start hot, finish strong. The South Dakota State women's basketball team was burning up the nets in the first quarter of its Summit League tournament semifinal game Monday and the shooting helped them into the annual event's champion...

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SIOUX FALLS-Start hot, finish strong.

The South Dakota State women's basketball team was burning up the nets in the first quarter of its Summit League tournament semifinal game Monday and the shooting helped them into the annual event's championship game for the seventh time in eight years.

The Jackrabbits defeated tournament upstarts University of Nebraska-Omaha 76-60 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

The victory sets up a familiar matchup in the title game, between SDSU and the University of South Dakota. It is the third time in four years the Jacks and Coyotes have meet in the final and fourth straight year that they've played in the tournament. USD has made the title game in each of their four years of Division I eligibility.

On Monday, however, SDSU was "on a mission," Omaha coach Brittany Lange said. And while it came at her team's expense, the Jackrabbits were firing early in the game.

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Early in the first quarter, the Jacks blew an already 8-2 game wide open with six straight 3-point field goals, which saw the lead expand out to 27-8. After one quarter, SDSU led 31-12, shooting 12-of-21 on field goals, with standout scorers Madison Guebert and Mitchell's Macy Miller each scoring nine points. Miller scored the nine of the game's first 11 points for SDSU and was supplemented by a Kerri Young jumper.

Miller finished the game with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Young, a Mitchell native, had 11 points, five assists and four rebounds. Guebert led the team with 18 points, all on 3-pointers and Clarissa Ober controlled matters down low for SDSU, finishing with 17 points.

"We make one pass and we make another because they're wide open." Miller said, of finding the opening teammate in the early part of the game.

SDSU coach Aaron Johnston said it was a product of the team being more aggressive and purposeful on offense and putting themselves in a position to both get open shots at the basket and to knock them down. The Jacks had 24 assists on 30 made shots and committed just three turnovers.

We have great shooters and we took the initiative and go aggressively to the basket." said SDSU guard Gabby Boever. "We get past the first line of defense and find the extra pass."

In the second quarter, Miller said the team made a more concerted effort to go inside, in order to get their interior players involved and to avoid becoming stagnant offensively.

Omaha, in its first Summit League tournament after making the transition to Division I, finished the game shooting 37 percent on field goals and was led by Ellie Brecht, a Sioux Falls Lincoln product, who scored 17 points and had five rebounds. Caroline Houge had 17 points and All-Summit League first team pick Mikayla Shaw had 16 for the Mavericks.

"I really felt we were kind of shocked by the environment," Lange said. "We got a couple of first stops, but they got offensive boards after that and kind of deflated us. They got to run out in transition and we weren't able to find their shooters."

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NOTES: With her 11 points on Monday, Young, a junior, has exactly 900 points for her career. ... 7,237 fans were in attendance on Monday, which set a new all-time women's semifinal record at the Summit League tournament. The attendance mark is the third-highest to witness any session of women's basketball in Summit tournament history.

Omaha (15-15)

Abi Lujan 1-3 0-0 2 Mikaela Shaw 5-15 6-6 16 Bobbi Beckwith 0-0 0-0 0 Caroline Hogue 7-12 3-3 17 Remy Davenport 0-6 2-2 2 Kalen Phillips 0-1 0-0 0 Sara Echelberry 0-0 0-0 0 Amber Vidal 1-4 0-0 0 Marissa Preston 1-6 0-0 3 Vanessa Barajas 0-0 0-0 0 Ellie Brecht 6-9 0-2 TOTALS 21-56 11-13 60

South Dakota State (25-6)

Kerri Young 5-12 0-0 11 Madison Guebert 6-8 0-0 18 Macy Miller 7-8 1-4 17 Clarissa Ober 7-8 2-3 17 Ellie Thompson 1-9 1-2 3 Alexis Alexander 0-2 0-0 0 Gabby Boever 3-10 0-2 7 Ena Viso 0-1 0-0 0 Chloe Cornemann 0-3 0-0 0 Sydney Palmer 0-2 0-0 0 0 Tiffaney Flaata 0-1 1-4 1 Jessica Mieras 1-3 0-0 0 TOTALS 30-69 5-15 76

Omaha 12 24 36 60

SDSU 31 41 57 76

3-point goals: Omaha 7-20 (Brecht 5-8; Preston 1-5; Vidal 1-2; Davenport 0-5), SDSU 11-30 (Guebert 6-7; Miller 2-4; Young 1-5; Ober 1-1; Boever 1-5; Viso 0-1; Alexander 0-1; Cornemann 0-3; Thompson 0-3). Rebounds: Omaha 39 (Hogue, Lujan 7), SDSU 42 (Thompson 7). Assists: Omaha 11 (Shaw 3), SDSU 24 (Boever 7). Total fouls: Omaha 12, SDSU 13. A -7237

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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