SDSU women open conference play with win at Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. – South Dakota State women's basketball began Summit League action with a 68-51 win over Omaha on Sunday afternoon at Baxter Arena.

The Jackrabbits improved to 9-6 on the season and are now 1-0 in Summit League play, while Omaha fell to 5-9, 0-1 Summit.

"We rebounded the ball well and took care of it," head coach Aaron Johnston said. "I thought our shot selection was really good today."

Paiton Burckhard led all scorers with 21 points, while tying her career best of nine rebounds for the third time this season. The sophomore added two blocks, two assists and a steal to the Jackrabbits' efforts.

Rylie Cascio Jensen turned in a career-best 14 points as she went 5-of-7 from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Tagyn Larson added six point and five rebounds, while Tori Nelson dished a career-best five assists.

Tylee Irwin provided depth defensively, pulling down six rebounds and blocking a career-high three shots. Megan Bultsma and Irwin scored nine and eight points, respectively.

The Jackrabbits edged Omaha 37-34 on the boards, while converting 20 points off of the Mavericks' 16 turnovers.

Omaha opened the game going 3-of-3 from the 3-point line to take an 11-9 advantage over the Jacks. However, SDSU went on a 14-2 run, which included back-to-back 3-pointers from Lindsey Theuninck and Larson, to lead 23-13 at the end of the first quarter.

State continued its run as Cascio Jensen hit a layup and a 3-pointer to help extend the Jacks' advantage to 17. The senior would bury two more 3's in the quarter to put SDSU ahead 44-22 at halftime.

The Jackrabbits carried their momentum into the second half going on a 15-3 run, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Nelson and Cascio Jensen and an Irwin layup, to gain its largest lead of the game (31 points). Omaha scored 10 unanswered points to close out the frame.

The Mavericks outscored the Jackrabbits 13-9 in the final quarter, but SDSU's advantage was enough to seal a 68-51 Summit League victory.

"We've overcome a lot of adversity," Johnston said. "We have to look at that adversity not as a negative, but as a positive. It's testing us in ways that maybe we haven't had to work on in the past and stretching us lineup wise. It's stretching us with how hard we're willing to play through some of those tough moments and if we can come out on the right side of that, it's going to continue to make us stronger."

Game Notes
South Dakota State is now 44-30 all-time against Omaha.
Four Jackrabbits hit career-best marks in the contest (Paiton Burckhard, Rylie Cascio Jensen, Tori Nelson and Tylee Irwin).
The Jacks shot 44.1 percent from the field, compared to Omaha at 35.1 percent.
The Jackrabbits have held their opponents to shooting under 40 percent from the field in 10 of its 15 contests.

Up Next
South Dakota State returns home to host Oral Roberts on Thursday. Tip will be a 6 p.m. prior to the men's game.