No. 1 South Dakota State and No. 2 South Dakota met in the Summit League Championship for the fourth time in five years Tuesday afternoon in Sioux Falls. The game held a shaky start for both teams.
Before any scoring took place, USD tallied a turnover in each of their first two possessions with the first one being on the opening tip.
Paiton Burckhard knocked down a three-pointer to start the scoring. A minute and a half later, Liv Korngable opened the scoring for South Dakota with a two-point bucket. Six minutes into the first quarter, SDSU had turned the ball over four times. Aside from turnovers, missed buckets plagued both teams. The first quarter closed with the Jacks up 10-8.
It was over two minutes into the second quarter before any scoring took place. Hannah Sjerven ended the drought with a quick step-around in the paint. After another Sjerven bucket, USD had the lead, but Burckhard quickly erased it with a three-pointer on the other end. Sjerven came up with a monster block of Kallie Theisen near the three-minute mark. After making two of three foul shots, Chloe Lamb gave USD its biggest lead yet at four points. This was cut down on the next possession by Haley Greer’s drilled three-pointer. Burckhard nailed another one immediately after. Lamb then made her own three-pointer, giving USD a one-point lead with 10 seconds left in the half, and ultimately a one-point halftime lead, 23-22.
Lamb wasted no time netting one to start the second half. Kyah Watson followed with a blocked shot put up by Myah Selland.
Sjerven fouled Selland from beyond the arch to send Selland and SDSU to the stripe for the first time. Selland made two of three, quickly erased by Lamb’s three-pointer on the other end. Despite the low-scoring, much of the game was back and forth.
At 6:53 in the third, Tylee Irwin hit a three-point bucket to bring the Jacks within four. At this point, the pace had picked up and both offenses started to execute.
Haleigh Timmer sank two foul shots with ease to bring the Jacks within four again (35-31, Yotes). As the scoring picked up a bit more, USD led going into the final ten minutes, 43-36.
The Jacks had a four-chance possession early in the fourth quarter that ultimately ended in a turnover. As the USD lead shot up to seven again, Aaron Johnston called a likely-needed timeout.
With 4:40 left in the game, SDSU gave up another turnover, bringing its total to 14. Only seven total points had been tallied at this point in the fourth quarter, with SDSU having only one field goal. At 2:38, Burckhard had two tries for three, but could not get it to go. Haleigh Timmer then picked up a loose ball foul, but it did not put USD on the line.
SDSU was 4-22 on layups just under the two-minute mark. Sjerven then hit two at the charity stripe to put USD up by three possessions with 1:37 remaining. Burckhard put one down at the other end to give the Jacks two more points.
SDSU had not been held to less than 27% shooting since 2019 when playing Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen. USD held them to 24.6%. The Yotes defense, which has been stellar all season, did not disappoint today. SDSU giving 15 turnovers certainly did not help its efforts.
Chloe Lamb made two foul shots to put the Yotes up 11 and bring her total to 17, sealing the game up for USD as they went on to win the 2022 Summit League Championship, 56-45.
For SDSU, Irwin finished with 15 points while Burckhard tallied 14 points and 6 rebounds. For USD, Sjerven posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards. That was followed by Lamb’s 17 points and Korngable’s 11 points.
SDSU sits at 23-9, and USD sits at 27-5. Both teams went 17-1 in conference play (prior to the tournament).
Both SDSU and USD now await their fate to be revealed in the 2022 NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Championship Bracket during the Selection Show, which will air on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT Sunday, March 13. USD is locked into the “Big Dance” as the automatic qualifier, being listed as both a 9 and 10 seed in recent bracketology by Charlie Creme. SDSU now hopes an early win over UCLA and the 6th-toughest non-conference schedule in the country, along with excellent conference play, will be enough to score them an at-large bid in the Dance.