S.D. State rolls past North Dakota in Summit League women's basketball quarterfinal

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UND forward Jaclyn Jarnot drives against a South Dakota State defender Saturday afternoon in the first round of the 2020 Summit League Basketball Championship in Sioux Falls, S.D. (Photo by Richard Carlson/Inertia)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- UND started the season with seven freshmen. All were expected to make contributions. The Fighting Hawks then opened the Summit League women’s basketball season with three straight wins.

However, the Hawks then hit the heart of the Summit schedule -- one that included the powerful South Dakota programs.

On Saturday, the Hawks met up with one of those league powers -- South Dakota State. And SDSU showed a youthful UND team it still has a long way to go to reach the top of the Summit.

SDSU’s defensive physicality and experience in big games led the Jackrabbits to a 72-43 win over UND in the quarterfinal round of the Summit League tournament before 8,338 fans at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

UND dropped to 15-15 but its season may not be over. With 15 wins, there is a possibility that UND may have a chance to participate in a postseason tournament such as the WBI. But that possibility won’t be known for another week.


UND’s season was a roller-coaster because of its youth. And it may not change drastically next season.

“They’ll be better next year,” said UND coach Travis Brewster of his freshmen. “There will still be bumps in the road; that’s just the way it goes. It’s been a roller-coaster all year long. But this is a great group of people.”

UND dropped all three games to SDSU this season. The second-seeded Jackrabbits (22-9) won two of the three easily. Their 74-61 win in Grand Forks was more challenging because UND forced the Jacks to play an up-tempo style -- something SDSU did not want.

On Saturday, the Jacks controlled the pace and the inside, scoring 48 points in the paint and outrebounding UND 48-38.

Defensively, the Jacks were strong -- forcing 28 UND turnovers that led to 25 SDSU points.

“Some of those (turnovers) were because we got caught up in the lights a little bit,” said Brewster. “South Dakota State changed their defense a little bit and cranked it up. And we didn’t adjust particularly well.”

Neither team was in an offensive groove in the first half. UND was 2-for-22 from the field with 5:21 left in the second quarter. By that time, the Jacks led 27-8.

But UND regained a bit of composure and closed the half on a 10-2 run to trail 30-18 at the break.


But SDSU put the hammer down in the second half, going on a 9-0 run in the first three minutes.

“Our defense was excellent,” said SDSU coach Aaron Johnston. “We rebounded really well and forced them out of their rhythm and made some of their shots difficult. Our defense was phenomenal.”

SDSU played at its pace for 40 minutes, something UND didn’t want.

“We weren’t getting rebounds and weren’t getting stops,” said UND’s Alaina Jarnot, the team’s lone senior. “So that makes it hard to push the ball.”

UND was led by freshman Olivia Lane, who scored 12 points, making 5 of 7 from the field. Freshman Lilly Keplin added nine, including one NBA range 3-pointer, while Megan Zander, another freshman added seven.

The Jacks were led by Tagyn Larson (18 points) and Paiton Burckard (14).

SDSU shot 39 percent while UND shot only 29 percent. Also, UND’s 28 turnovers were five more than their season average.

UND had a few good stretches during the game. But not nearly enough.


“SDSU moves on to the Monday’s semfinal round against the N.D. State and Denver winner.

UND now focuses on the future.

“We just have to focus on our weaknesses and carry on with our strengths,” said Lane.

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SIOUX FALLS, SD - MARCH 7: Tylee Irwin #21 of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits looks for an open teammate to pass to against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks defense at the 2020 Summit League Basketball Championship in Sioux Falls, SD.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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