The No. 22 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (20-2, 13-0 Summit) got 19 points apiece from junior forward Paiton Burckhard and senior forward Tylee Irwin and pulled away with a nine-point edge in the fourth quarter to defeat the UM Kansas City Roos 73-53 on Friday night.
The Jackrabbits won the first by nine and then won the second and third by one point apiece. Burckhard added five rebounds, while junior guards RaVon Nero and Maddy Willems both notched 11 points in defeat. Nero also dished out five assists.
South Dakota State made 25 free throws compared to seven for UMKC (10-10, 7-7 Summit).
The two teams meet again on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (ESPN+) as both wrap up their regular seasons.
The Jackrabbits have already clinched the Summit League regular season title and are looking to go undefeated in conference play. Ten of their Summit League wins have come by double digits, with the three single-digit victories all coming in the last six games.
The Roos, on the other hand, have had an up and down conference season, but have won three of their last five.
South Dakota State’s leading scorer, Myah Selland (19.2 points per game), is probably out for the rest of the season with a leg injury, but the team still has Irwin (13.2) and Burckhard (12.5). Unfortunately for the Jackrabbits, Selland, a redshirt junior forward, also led the team in rebounds (6.8 per contest) and assists (3.8).
Junior guard Naomie Alnatas leads the way for UMKC with 15.8 points per game, while Nero and junior forward Paige Bradford average 11.3 and 10.2, respectively. Bradford is the Roos’ top rebounder with six on average.
3-point shooting will be key for UMKC in this game as South Dakota State has the edge in a lot of other categories, most notably when it comes to getting to the free throw line and not sending people to the line as frequently as UMKC.
UM Kansas City Roos (10-10, 7-7 Summit) vs. No. 22 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (20-2, 13-0 Summit)
When: Saturday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Frost Arena in Brookings, SD
How to watch/listen: ESPN+/Jackrabbits All-Access
Key to the matchup: UMKC’s 3-point shooting. The Jackrabbits have advantages in every area excpet 3-point shooting. The Roos shoot 35.6 percent from deep with 25 attempts per game compared to 31.5 percent for the Jackrabbits on 20.9 attempts. South Dakota State does hold opponents to 28.3 percent shooting from distance and will need a solid performance in that department to prevent an upset. It did an ok job on Friday, allowing a 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) effort from UMKC.
Reason to watch: South Dakota State could be a team to keep an eye on in the NCAA Tournament.