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Paluch Injured, Jacks Advance to Finals



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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Four South Dakota State players scored in double figures as the Jackrabbit women’s basketball team shook off a sluggish start to defeat IUPUI, 79-54, Monday afternoon and advance to the Summit League championship game for the fourth consecutive year.

 

The top-seeded Jackrabbits won for the 14th time in 15 games to improve to 23-8 overall. Fifth-seeded IUPUI ended its season end with a 13-19 overall mark. SDSU will face either No. 3 UMKC or No. 7 Western in the championship game at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

 

SDSU turned the ball over on three of its first four possessions and trailed 16-15 with 8 minutes and 17 seconds remaining in the first half after a Kerah Nelson free throw.

 

The Jackrabbits regained the lead on a three-pointer by reserve guard Gabrielle Boever and led 20-16 after a steal and layup by Steph Paluch. On the play, however, Paluch suffered a knee injury that will sideline her for the rest of the season.

 

The momentum further shifted in SDSU’s favor with an 8-0 spurt late in the half keyed by a traditional three-point play by Paluch’s replacement, Tara Heiser, and Boever’s second three-pointer of the half.

 

For the second tournament game in a row, Boever established a new career high in scoring with 10 of her 12 points coming in the first half to help the Jackrabbits to a 34-24 halftime advantage.

 

Behind the three-point shooting of senior Jill Young, the Jackrabbits quickly put the game out of reach after intermission. The SDSU career three-point record holder, Young nailed three consecutive three-point attempts in the first 2:02 of the second half to put SDSU up 45-27. Young made it 4-for-4 in the half with a triple from the left corner to put the Jackrabbits ahead 54-34.

 

The Jackrabbits led by as many as 26 points heading down the stretch.

 

Young scored all of her game-high 14 points in the second half and added a team-high eight rebounds as the Jackrabbits held a 51-34 advantage on the boards. Jennie Sunnarborg tallied 13 points, with Ashley Eide rounding out the double-figure scorers for SDSU with a dozen points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

 

SDSU finished 29-of-66 from the field, 43.9 percent, including 9-of-25 from three-point range. At the line, the Jackrabbits made 12-of-16 attempts, 75 percent.

 

Nelson, an all-Summit League performer, led the Jaguars with 13 points and nine rebounds, followed by 12 points by Emily Phillips and 10 from Dawn Luster.

 

IUPUI was 21-of-62 from the field, 33.9 percent, including 3-for-13 on three-pointers. The Jaguars ended the afternoon 9-of-18 from the free throw line.

 

NOTES: SDSU improved to 11-0 all-time in Summit League tournament games … the Jackrabbits have won all 12 meetings against IUPUI … the two programs also met in the Summit League semifinals in 2009, with SDSU winning, 68-53 … Young upped her career three-point total to 298 and moved into fifth place on the Jackrabbit single-season three-point chart with 76 … Young now holds three of the top five single-season three-point totals in Jackrabbit history … SDSU is 18-3 when leading at the half and 21-4 when out-rebounding the opposition … the Jackrabbits finished with a 32-6 advantage in bench points, including nine by Katie Lingle … SDSU committed 19 turnovers, but was credited with 19 assists … the Jackrabbits’ 51 rebounds were a season high and including 18 on the offensive glass

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