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Jackrabbits Advance To WNIT Final Four With Win Over Indiana

A historic post-season run for South Dakota State will continue as the Jackrabbits beat Indiana 76-64 Sunday afternoon in front of 3,792 at Forst Arena in the WNIT Quarterfinals.

The win is the fourth straight post-season victory for the Jackrabbits, extending a school record in the Division I era.

After relying heavily on defense in wins over Butler, Creighton, and Minnesota in the first three rounds, SDSU got their best offensive performance of the post season, shooting 47 percent from the floor to go to 26-9 on the year.

Both teams were sharp from 3-point range early, as the Jackrabbits and Hoosiers each buried a pair of triples in the first 3:30 and the game was tied at eight.

SDSU grabbed the lead for the first time with four minutes gone, as Steph Paluch scored eight of her teams first 15 points and the Jackrabbits pushed the lead to four points after shooting 57 percent from the floor early on.

With the score 19-13 with 8:26 to play in the first half, Indiana head coach Curt Miller was whistled for a technical foul on a disputed foul.  In the aftermath, the Jacks buried three free throws and got a 3-pointer from Clarissa Ober to extend the lead to 25-16 with 8:00 left in the half.

But the Hoosiers came roaring back, forcing SDSU to turn it over and rebounding some Jackrabbits misses to run off 10 straight to re-take the lead at 26-25 with 4:45 to play before intermission.

The South Dakota State post defense had a solid first half with five blocked shots while limiting Indiana to just two offensive rebounds, as the Jacks scored 11 of the final 14 points of the half to lead 36-29 at the break. The Hoosiers shot just 38 percent in the first half.

Megan Waytashek was 3-for-6 from the floor in the first half with 12 points, Alexis Gassion had eight for Indiana.

The Hoosiers did pull as close as three with 7:30 to play in the second half, but South Dakota State got Indiana into foul trouble, and took advantage, shooting 50 percent in the second half to stretch the lead to double digits with 2:00 to play.

The Jackrabbits knocked down 10 3-pointers in the game, but really did some damage at the free throw line, going 20-for-22, including 13-for-14 in the second half, outscoring the Hoosiers by 12 the the charity stripe.

Defensively, SDSU forced 15 turnovers and blocked seven shots.  The Jacks won the rebounding battle 30-26.

Waytashek led three players in double figures with 20 points, Paluch 19, and Mariah Clarin 15.

Gassion led Indiana (21-13) with 22 points.

South Dakota State will play the winner of Monday’s quarterfinal game between Washington and UTEP in the WNIT semifinals.

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