Jacks take OT thriller to win title
SIOUX FALLS — A pair of free throws by Jill Young with seven seconds to play in overtime gave South Dakota State University its fourth straight championship at the Summit League women's basketball tournament Tuesday afternoon.
The Jackrabbits, 24-8 for the season and league regular season champions, defeated No. 3 seed Missouri-Kansas City 78-77 to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
UMKC rallied from a 62-56 deficit to force an overtime when Brianna Eldridge tied the game with a layup with one minute to play. SDSU missed two three-point attempts and UMKC missed a shot before regulation ended.
In the extra session, UMKC went ahead 73-71 on two free throws by Eilise O'Connor. The Jacks regained the lead on a layup by Leah Dietel, who was fouled on the play and hit the free throw for a 74-73 advantage. The Jackrabbits stretched the margin to three on a driving basket by Tara Heiser. But back-to-back baskets by O'Connor put UMKC back on top 77-76 before Young made the deciding free throws.
UMKC opened the game with a 9-0 run on three layups by Kim Nezianya and a three-point basket by Dayon Hall-Jones, and pushed the margin to 19-6 on a layup by Jade Tinner at the 12:15 mark.
SDSU, which made only two of its first 14 field goal attempts, closed within seven, at 23-16, following a layup by Heiser, but the Kangaroos scored the next 10 points to open a 33-16 lead when Emile Blakesly nailed a three-pointer with 3:07 to play.
SDSU cut the margin to nine when Gabby Boever hit a three-pointer with three seconds left, making it 36-27 at the half.
The Jackrabbits carried the momentum into the first two minutes of the second half, tying the game at 36-all on a three-pointer by Ashley Eide. The Jacks got their first lead on another three pointer by Eide with 12:30 to go, making it 45-44.
Young, a senior guard, went 4-for-4 at the line in the overtime period and finished with 13 points, sharing the team lead with Eide. Jennie Sunnarborg had 12 points and nine rebounds and Heiser, starting in place of injured Steph Paluch, added 12.
UMKC senior Dayon Hall-Jones took game scoring honors with 27 points, hitting 11-of-26 field goal attempts with four three-pointers. Nezianya added a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double while O'Connor finished with 11 points.
UMKC had five more field goals than SDSU, 32-27, but the Jacks hit 12 three-point shots — three by Young — and were 12-of-16 at the foul line while UMKC was just 4-for-8.
SDSU shot 42.2 percent (27-of-64) for the game, while UMKC checked in at 44.4 percent (32-of-72). UMKC had a 46-37 rebound advantage, but the Jacks won the battle of the boards 22-21 after intermission.
The game was tied 11 times and there were five lead changes.
While SDSU has won every Summit League tournament it has played in since becoming NCAA Division I and is now 12-0 in tourney play, it was only the second championship game appearance for the Kangaroos, who were also runner-up in 2005. UMKC dropped to 22-11 overall, losing to SDSU three times.
Sunnarborg was named tournament most valuable player and was joined on the five-player squad by Young. UMKC was represented by Hall-Jones and Nezianya, while Western Illinois' Valencia Kelly rounded out the team.
NOTES: The Jackrabbits improved to 11-1 all-time against UMKC ... SDSU has won the last six matchups against the Kangaroos ... the Jackrabbits also claimed the 2010 tournament title in overtime, defeating Oral Roberts, 79-75 ... SDSU has won six in a row and 15 of its last 16 games overall ... Young upped her career three-point total to 301, tying her for the Summit League career lead with IPFW's Anne Boese ... Young upped her single-season three-point total to 79, putting her fourth on the Jackrabbit single-season charts ... for the season, Young is shooting 91 percent (81-of-89) from the free throw line ... SDSU made a combined 32 three-pointers in its three tournament games ... the Jackrabbits held a 19-16 advantage in bench points, led by six each from Boever and Hannah Strop ... Heiser was making her first start of the season and second of her career ... attendance was 5,153 at the Sioux Falls Arena