Aaron Johnston Gets 500th Career Win As Jackrabbits Sweep Western Illinois In Doubleheader

SDSU women win 71-61, men hang on 83-77
Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 12:03 AM CST
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South Dakota State women’s basketball opened Summit League play with a 71-61 win over Western Illinois Friday night at Frost Arena, giving head coach Aaron Johnston his 500th career win. 

The Jacks (8-2, 1-0), shot 38.8 percent from the field, scored 25 points off turnovers and outscored Western Illinois 36-26 in the paint. 

Myah Selland led all scorers with 16 points, recorded six rebounds and three assists. Paiton Burckhard scored 13 points, pulled down five rebounds and dished two assists. Tylee Irwin added 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. Tori Nelson finished with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Lindsey Theuninck scored eight points, recorded five rebounds and dished three assists.

“Well good to get back on the floor and play a game again,” said head coach Aaron Johnston. “We looked a little sluggish, I thought. Western Illinois does a good job. They played very hard and I thought they took some things away inside in particular. We scored a lot of points going to the basket and they did a good job taking some of that away. We didn’t make many jump shots, so I thought their plan was good and we’ll have to find a way to adjust to that tomorrow. But at the same point, I thought we were really efficient at times, too. They can really get you sped up and turn you over, but I don’t think that was really the case. It was just a matter of we didn’t make a lot of shots. We’ll have to be a little bit more comfortable in our offense tomorrow, but good to get back on the floor after a long break. Our team handled that part pretty well and got ourselves a good win here to start our conference season.”

The Leathernecks had control early, leading 11-5 at the first quarter media timeout. After early offensive struggles, State went on a 10-2 run, sealed by a late Theuninck basket, to tie the game at 15-all at the end of the first. 

The Jacks used runs of five and six unanswered points to take a 26-19 lead at the 6:12 mark in the second. Western Illinois stayed within single digits until layups from Burckhard and Nelson capped off an 8-0 run to put the Jacks ahead 34-22 with 1:47 left in the half. The Leathernecks cut the lead to 36-28 on two free throws and a layup to close the half. 

Opening the second half on a 7-0 run, SDSU saw its lead grow to 15 points two minutes out of the break. A WIU and-one made it a 10-point game with just over five minutes to play, but the Jacks responded with a 9-2 run to take a 57-43 advantage at the 2:45 mark. Western Illinois finished the third quarter with seven unanswered points to cut the Jacks lead to 60-50. After an Irwin 3-pointer and a Burckhard jumper opened the final quarter, State was held without a field goal for the next 6:32, but maintained the lead. Nelson’s and-one with 2:03 to play broke the cold streak and secured a 71-59 win. 

Game Notes

  • South Dakota State holds a 27-2 advantage in the all-time series, including eight-consecutive wins
  • The Jackrabbits have won its last 10 Summit League openers
  • Johnston became the 34th active Division I coach to reach 500 career wins. Additionally, he is South Dakota State’s and the Summit League’s winningest women’s basketball coach.
  • Myah Selland is now at 961 career points
  • Six points is a career high for Madysen Vlastuin
  • SDSU is on a five-game winning streak

Up Next South Dakota State and Western Illinois face each other again tomorrow evening. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. at Frost Arena.


Douglas Wilson’s return was the spark South Dakota State needed, as the Jackrabbits opened Summit League play with an 83-77 win over Western Illinois Friday night in Frost Arena.

The reigning Summit League Player of the Year, Wilson posted a game-high on 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Wilson logged 26 off the bench after missing the previous four games.

Luke Appel tied his career high, scoring 16 points while grabbing five rebounds. Baylor Scheierman added 16 points, nine boards and four assists for the Jacks (7-3, 1-0 in the Summit League).

Adam Anhold posted a career-high 16 points to lead the Leathernecks, who fell to 2-8 overall and 1-3 in league play.

SDSU needed a boost after seeing Western Illinois jump out to a 7-0 lead. The Leathernecks maintained a 20-14 edge with 8:55 left in the half before the hosts turned it on.

The Jacks scored on 12 straight possessions, compiling runs of 7-0 and 14-0 amid a 21-2 onslaught that propelled SDSU to a 41-28 halftime advantage.

Another flurry opened the second stanza, as SDSU scored on six straight trips and led 54-32 with 16:41 left.

Trailing by 17 entering the game’s final 10 minutes, the Leathernecks rattled off 20 of the next 25 points, coming within two at the 1:41 mark. SDSUs Luke Appel converted a layup off Wilson’s feed, and after a Leatherneck turnover, the Jacks finished things at the free throw line.

Making up for a subpar night at the line, State hit on 9-of-10 in the final 41 seconds to secure the win. The Jacks finished 18-of-27 at the free throw stripe.

SDSU only committed eight turnovers while forcing 15, compiling a 21-7 advantage in points off turnovers.


  • Appel scored a career-high 16 points against Mount Marty on Monday and matched that total Friday.
  • Wilson had not played since Dec. 4, missing the previous four games.
  • The Jacks outscored the Leathernecks 50-32 in the paint.
  • SDSU leads the all-time series 29-5.

Up Next South Dakota State and Western Illinois meet again Saturday at 7:30 in Frost Arena.


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