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Lucky seven: SDSU women knock off USD in Summit title game

SIOUX FALLS--The South Dakota State women's basketball team lost the season series with its in-state rivals from the University of South Dakota. But on Tuesday, the Jackrabbits won the only game of the three that decided a trip to the national to...

South Dakota State University's Macy Miller (12), left, and the rest of the Jackrabbits celebrate their win over the University of South Dakota Coyotes with the student body in the Summit League conference championship on Tuesday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade/Republic)
South Dakota State University's Macy Miller (12), left, and the rest of the Jackrabbits celebrate their win over the University of South Dakota Coyotes with the student body in the Summit League conference championship on Tuesday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS-The South Dakota State women's basketball team lost the season series with its in-state rivals from the University of South Dakota.

But on Tuesday, the Jackrabbits won the only game of the three that decided a trip to the national tournament.

In a physical, demanding contest played in front of 8,647 fans, SDSU emerged victorious with a 61-55 win in the Summit League championship game at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. The Jacks now qualify for the NCAA tournament with the conference's automatic berth.

The victory is SDSU's seventh conference championship in eight seasons and the third time the Jacks have defeated USD in the championship game.

"The first two meetings we didn't play the way we wanted to," said SDSU's Macy Miller. "We knew we needed more mental toughness to beat them. We wanted this real bad."

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Miller was a key cog on Tuesday, posting her first double-double of the season behind 18 points and 10 rebounds and it was an all-hands-on-deck effort defensively for the Jacks, who held the country's ninth-best scoring offense to just 34 percent shooting and 29 percent shooting in the second half. The Coyotes did themselves no favors at the free throw line, making 10 of 19 attempts.

"We knew we had to be physical with them and get into them and not give them any space," said SDSU's Kerri Young, who was primarily tasked with guarding the conference's player of the year, USD's Nicole Seekamp.

Seekamp had 22 points but needed 17 shots and the remainder of the Coyote offense made just 12 shots from the field.

"We were aggressive and we weren't afraid to make plays," Miller said. "Everyone came together to lift our team up."

While USD had a one-point lead at the half, SDSU stayed close throughout the third quarter but Ellie Thompson managed to give the Jacks the lead for good on a basket inside at 40-38 and Young knocked down a 3-pointer to put SDSU up by five.

In the fourth quarter, Seekamp helped trimmed the SDSU lead to three points with 4:35 remaining before SDSU scored five straight points to pull away, aided by a 3-pointer from Madison Guebert and free throws from Miller.

Guebert had 14 points and Thompson scored 11 for the Jacks (26-6). Young finished the game with seven points for SDSU. Kelly Stewart was the only other Coyote (26-6) in double figures scoring, finishing 11 points and eight rebounds.

"It's such a great feeling and to beat this team, it means a lot," said Young. "In-state rivals and having to lose to them twice already this year, I think it just fired us up and it made us hungry. We wanted to prove ourselves because we didn't play our best in the two games earlier this season."

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After the best regular season in school history, USD is probably a longshot to make the tournament as an at-large selection. But Seekamp said her team is still deserving.

"We feel we're deserving - every team I guess feels like that - we put our hearts out there, we played our guts out and it just didn't work out," she said.

The Jackrabbits will find out where they land in the 64-team national bracket at 6 p.m. Monday night.

NOTES: SDSU is now 21-1 all-time in Summit League tournament history, which spans eight years. ... SDSU has won all three championship meetings with USD. ... Tuesday's attendance mark of 8,647 is a women's championship record and the women's tournament attendance of 28,872 is also a tournament record.

South Dakota State (26-6)

Kerri Young 2-6 2-2 7 Madison Guebert 5-11 2-2 14 Macy Miller 5-11 6-8 18 Clarissa Ober 2-10 2-5 7 Ellie Thompson 4-9 3-4 11 Alexis Alexander 1-2 0-0 2 Gabby Boever 0-4 2-2 2 Chloe Cornemann 0-3 0-0 0 TOTALS 19-56 16-23 61

South Dakota (26-6)

Tia Hemiller 1-7 1-2 4 Kelly Stewart 4-9 1-6 11 Margaret McCloud 2-6 1-2 5 Caitlin Duffy 2-4 0-0 6 Nicole Seekamp 8-17 6-7 22 Jasmine Trimboli 0-4 0-0 0 Allison Arens 0-1 0-0 0 Jaycee Bradley 0-0 0-0 0 Bridget Arens 0-2 1-2 1 Kate Liveringhouse 1-5 0-0 2 Heidi Hoff 1-1 0-0 2 Abigail Fogg 1-3 0-0 2

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SDSU 10 26 40 61

USD 11 27 38 55

Three-Pointers: SDSU 7-19 (Guebert 3-6, Miller 2-3, Ober 1-3, Young 1-3, Cornemann 0-1, Boever 0-3), USD 5-15 (Duffy 2-3, Stewart 2-4, Hemiller 1-3, Trimboli 0-2, Seekamp 0-3). Total Rebounds: USD 45 (Stewart 8), SDSU 43 (Miller 10). Assists: USD 12 (Duffy 4), SDSU 11 (Boever 4). Steals: USD 11 (Seekamp 4), SDSU 7 (Alexander 2, Cornemann 2). Total fouls: USD 19, SDSU 16. Fouled out: None. A - 8647.

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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