A victory over a nationally ranked team has kicked off a homestand for the South Dakota State women’s basketball squad.
Senior Steph Paluch (Pierre) and junior Megan Waytashek (Lino Lakes, Minn.) each scored a team-high 18 points as the South Dakota State women’s basketball team (7-4) knocked off No. 12/12 Penn State (6-3) 83-79 in front of 1,713 fans Wednesday night at Frost Arena.
The win was the Jackrabbits’ third win over a ranked opponent since turning Division I in 2004-05. Penn State was also the highest-ranked team SDSU has beaten since defeating then-No. 15 Nebraska, Nov. 18, 2012, in Frost Arena.
South Dakota State opened the game with a 22-9 run fueled by junior Mariah Clarin’s (Princeton, Minn.) seven points and six points from Waytashek, who had 17 first-half points, including a season-high four three-pointers. Penn State cut the lead to nine points, 22-13, with 13:27 on the clock with a pair of free throws from Ariel Edwards and a jumper by Kaliyah Mitchell.
The Jackrabbits, who shot 51.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from the three-point line in the first half, pushed their lead to 15 points, 36-21, when freshman Clarissa Ober (Glencoe, Minn.) made a layup with 8:41 left.
South Dakota State closed the half with an 8-2 run to lead 55-35 at halftime.
The Jackrabbits got five quick points from Paluch to open the second half before Penn State went on a 24-9 run to cut the lead to eight points, 69-61, with 9:06 remaining. Maggie Lucas scored 10 points and Dara Taylor had eight points during the Lady Lions’ run.
SDSU got four points from the free-throw line and a jumper from freshman Kerri Young (Mitchell) to put the Jacks back up by 14 points, 75-61, with 8:07 left.
The Lady Lions worked the score to 78-77 when Edwards capped a 9-0 run with a traditional three-point play with 1:17 left on the clock.
Junior Gabby Boever’s (Worthington, Minn.) layup with 55 seconds left and senior Tara Heiser’s free throw with 14 seconds remaining gave the Jacks a four-point lead, 81-77. PSU’s Edwards sank a jumper with four seconds left and Paluch sealed the win with a pair free throws with three seconds on the clock.
Clarin scored 13 points and had a team-high eight rebounds for the Jackrabbits. Ober finished with eight points and eight rebounds, and Waytashek added eight boards. South Dakota State outrebounded Penn State, 53-42, and had 19 offensive rebounds.
Edwards led Penn State with a game-high 24 points. Lucas had 20 points and Taylor 19. Tori Waldner led the Lady Lions with a game-high nine rebounds.
South Dakota State continues its three-game homestand Sunday when it hosts Central Michigan at 1 p.m. in Frost Arena.