Jackrabbits secure spot in championship after downing Bison

Summit League Freshman of the Year Tori Nelson led four Jacks in double-figures with 21 points against NDSU.
Summit League Freshman of the Year Tori Nelson led four Jacks in double-figures with 21 points against NDSU.

Press Conferences: SDSU Head Coach Aaron Johnston | SDSU Players | NDSU Head Coach Jory Collins | NDSU Players

The Basics
Score: No. 2 South Dakota State 76, No. 6 North Dakota State 56
Records: South Dakota State (23-9), North Dakota State (11-19)
Location: Denny Sanford PREMIER Center - Sioux Falls, S.D.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – For the third straight year, South Dakota and South Dakota State will meet in The Summit League Tournament title game. The second-seeded Jackrabbits made that a reality with a … victory over sixth-seeded North Dakota State in Monday's second semifinal.  

Summit League Freshman of the Year Tori Nelson led four Jackrabbits in double-figures with 21 points in a game that saw SDSU shoot 46 percent from the field while holding the Bison to a 38-percent clip. 

One of those Jacks shooting well was junior Tylee Irwin, who established a new season-high with 18 points by making 7-of-13 shots from the floor.

It was a back-and-forth affair midway through the first quarter before the Jacks closed with a 12-4 run that provided them with their first decent cushion of the contest.

NDSU freshman Ryan Cobbins made a driving layup with just over four minutes to give NDSU its first and only lead of the game at 11-10, but four different Jacks would make field goals during that closing four minutes to make it a 22-15 contest after 10 minutes. 

The Jacks built a double-figure lead and led by as many as 13 in the second quarter before NDSU chipped away at the deficit thanks to a 7-2 run over the final 4:30 to trail 38-30 at the break.

SDSU took the momentum back to start the third quarter, however, opening it on another well-balanced run that reached 12-2 and gave the Jackrabbits a 50-32 advantage.

The Bison would never get the lead back within single digits. Cobbins and Michelle Gaislerova shared team-high scoring honors for NDSU with 12 points

South Dakota State will face top-seeded South Dakota in Tuesday's title game set for 1 p.m. CT on ESPNU. This is the third straight year and 10th in the last 12 that these two squads will meet in the championship game.

Turning Point
After NDSU had trimmed a 13-point deficit down to eight by halftime, SDSU opened the third quarter on a 12-2 run that put the game out of reach.

Inside the Box Score

  • South Dakota State record 40 points in the paint compared to North Dakota State's 24.
  • The Jackrabbits forced 28 Bison turnovers and converted them into 23 points.
  • Irwin finished with a season-best 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
  • South Dakota State notched eight 3-points against North Dakota State with four coming in the third quarter alone.

News & Notes

  • The Jackrabbits will meet the Coyotes in the championship game for the third consecutive year.
  • This was NDSU's first semifinal appearance since 2009, which was the Bison's first year of tournament eligibility.
  • South Dakota State improves to 30-2 in the tournament all-time while North Dakota State falls to 2-11 all-time.
  • South Dakota State now holds a 54-39 advantage in the all-time series over the Bison and have won the last 10 contests against North Dakota State.

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