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Miller, Young ready for big stage again

BROOKINGS--Playing on a national stage is nothing new to Macy Miller and Kerri Young. Both Mitchell natives made their NCAA national tournament debuts a year ago in a 74-62 loss to Oregon State University. So playing No. 5 Miami (24-8) in the fir...

BROOKINGS-Playing on a national stage is nothing new to Macy Miller and Kerri Young.

Both Mitchell natives made their NCAA national tournament debuts a year ago in a 74-62 loss to Oregon State University. So playing No. 5 Miami (24-8) in the first round of the national tournament at 5:30 p.m. today in Palo Alto, California, on ESPN2 won't give Young or Miller a deer-in-the-headlights reaction.

"I'm looking forward to it. Last year was my first time to see what it was like, but we're going in with more confidence now that we know what it's like," Young said in a phone interview this week with The Daily Republic. "We're excited to travel to California, a place that a lot of us haven't been before. We got to watch some film on Miami and we know what kind of team they are, so we'll be ready."

What could be new for the former Mitchell Kernels and the Jackrabbits is escaping the first round with a win, a feat SDSU (26-6) hasn't accomplished since 2009. SDSU is 1-6 all-time in the national tournament.

"Our goal this year is to not just be content with going," Miller said. "I feel like that's how we've been in the past. We want to win a couple games and advance in the tournament. Playing the nonconference schedule we played was tough, and it prepared us for playing in games like this."

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The winner of the SDSU-Miami contest will play the victor of No. 4 Stanford and No. 13 San Francisco on Monday.

The Hurricanes and Jackrabbits have played three common opponents this season: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Old Dominion. SDSU beat Old Dominion 71-39 on Nov. 28 and Pittsburgh 55-54 on Nov. 26 and fell to Notre Dame 75-64 on Nov. 21. Meanwhile, Miami handled Old Dominion 61-35 on Nov. 17 and Pittsburgh 79-55 on Jan. 7 and 77-55 on March 3. The Hurricanes fell to Notre Dame twice, 90-69 on Feb. 14 and 78-67 on March 5.

"I think (those teams are) a lot alike," Young said. "It will come to our benefit because we're a type of team that is really good at spreading teams out and helping to penetrate and share the ball. I think we'll get open shots, just like we did against Notre Dame and some of those other teams. Defensively, they'll probably be more up in our grill than Summit League teams, but if we take care of the ball, it will go in our favor."

Miami is led by Adrienne Motley, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, who averages 15.6 points per game and Jessica Thomas, a junior guard that averages 11.9 points per contest.

As for SDSU, Miller leads the team averaging 15.3 points per game, while Young contributes 10.6 points per night.

"They push the ball in transition and play fast," Miller said. "We just have to play our defense and play how we know how to play. We're going to stick to our gameplan and play hard."

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