NCAA Women’s Tournament: South Dakota State Goes Cold in Season Ending Loss to Oregon
Heading into their first ever appearance in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level, South Dakota State was channeling the confidence they got from playing a top ten Oregon team close at home back in December in hopes that the confidence they took from that game would propel them to an upset in the rematch.
But instead, the sixth-seeded Jackrabbits suffered through their second-worst shooting performance of the season (26.7 percent) and lost 63-53 to the second-seeded Ducks in the Portland Region semifinals, Friday (March 29) night.
Oregon took advantage of a big height advantage and scored at will inside against against the SDSU defense, with 40 of their 63 points coming from inside the paint.
Forward Ruthy Hebard led the Ducks with 24 points and 11 rebounds, as Oregon advanced to the Elite Eight for the third straight year.
The Jackrabbit defense did their part, holding the third best scoring team in the nation 25 points below their average, while limiting the top three-point shooting team in the NCAA to just 4-of-20 from behind the arc.
But South Dakota State couldn't take advantage at the other end as starters Madison Guebert, Tagyn Larson, and Tylee Irwin went a combined 7-of-29 from the floor (24.1%)
Early on, the Jackrabbits had a pair of four-point leads in the first quarter as Myah Selland scored five of SDSU's first nine points.
But Oregon's size advantage inside began to take over as five blocked shots in the first half caused the Jackrabbits to alter several of their shots, leading to a number of misses near the basket, coming up empty on 14-of-16 from close range in the first 20 minutes.
SDSU didn't fare any better from outside in the first half, going just 3-of-13 from the three-point line.
Overall, the Jackrabbits shot just 21 percent in the first twenty minutes.
The Ducks used their defensive success to key their offense as Pac-12 player of the year Sabrina Ionescu scored eight straight points to spark a 10-0 run and Oregon's lead reached as many as ten later in the half. She finished the game with 17 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds.
The Ducks shot 50 percent in the first half and led 31-22 at intermission.
Oregon blew open the game scoring nine of the first eleven points of the second half to lead by as many as 19.
South Dakota State did recover to outscore the Ducks 19-14 in the fourth quarter to make the final score more respectable.
Macy Miller, playing in her final collegiate game, led the Jackrabbits with 21 points and eight rebounds.
SDSU finishes the season 28-6.
Oregon (31-4) plays top-seeded Mississippi State, Sunday at 1:00 PM Central in the Portland Region final.