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Jackrabbits advance to Sweet 16

(Courtesy of gojacks.com)

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—How sweet it is.

The South Dakota State women’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 for the first time in program history following a 75-64 win Monday night over No. 12/12 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome before 2,474 fans.

The No. 6-seeded Jackrabbits, who have now won 18-straight games, will play No. 2 seed Oregon Friday in Portland, Oregon. The game will be broadcast on the Jackrabbits Sports Network and ESPN2 and is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. Central. SDSU is now 28-6.

South Dakota State had four players score in double figures. Madison Guebert sank six 3-point field goals on her way to a game-high 20 points. Macy Miller recorded her third-straight double-double with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Myah Selland added 17 points and eight rebounds while Paiton Burckhard came off the bench to add 10 points.

Syracuse, which was the Portland Region’s No. 3 seed, ends its season at 25-9. It was led by Tiana Mangakahia’s 18 points.

After Miller gave South Dakota State a 17-14 lead on a putback at 2:59, Syracuse closed the first quarter with a 10-3 run for a 24-20 lead.

The Orange lead reached 12 points, 36-24, after Gabrielle Cooper’s 3-pointer at 5:06. Miller started the Jacks on a 12-2 run with a conventional three-point play at 4:45. Guebert sank two 3-pointers during that run while Burckhard added four points to bring South Dakota State within two, 38-36, at halftime.

The Jackrabbits’ defense stepped up in the third quarter, allowing Syracuse only nine points. That performance marked the 20th quarter this season the Jackrabbits have held an opponent to nine or fewer points.

After Syracuse took a 45-40 lead with 5:50 left in the quarter, the Jacks used a 13-2 run for a 53-47 lead. Burckhard gave SDSU a 47-45 lead on a putback that was sandwiched by two Guebert 3-pointers.

Syracuse opened the fourth quarter with 10-straight points for a 57-53 lead with 7:29 left to play. Selland and Tagyn Larson scored on back-to-back possessions to the game, 59-59, with 6:12 remaining. Syracuse held a 62-59 lead on a Mangakahia 3-pointer with 4:55 left but Miller sank two three throws before Guebert hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 67-62 lead with 2:59 remaining.

Larson’s layup with 56 seconds left gave the Jackrabbits a 69-62 lead before the Jacks sank six foul shots for the final margin.