South Dakota State women’s basketball outlasted UCLA 62-59 Thursday night to advance to the championship game of the WNIT. The win came in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,227 fans packed into Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits will play in the first WNIT championship game in program history Saturday afternoon at Frost.
The back-and-forth contest came down to the last 10 minutes, which featured seven lead changes and three ties in that quarter alone. Tied at 40-all after three quarters, the Jackrabbits outscored the Bruins 22-19 in the final period. SDSU regained the lead for the final time at 60-58 on a Haleigh Timmer baseline jumper with 38 seconds to play. UCLA’s IImar’I Thomas went 1-for-2 at the charity stripe 11 seconds later to pull back within one before Tori Nelson iced the game with a pair of free throws at the 20-second mark. UCLA missed one last 3-point shot at the buzzer.
State went 8-for-13 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. The team got a combined 15 of its 22 points in that stretch from Timmer and Myah Selland.
The Jackrabbits were paced by 24 points and nine rebounds from Selland, both of which led all players. Timmer added 15 points on a 7-for-9 shooting effort to go with seven boards. Nelson and Paiton Burckhard added seven points apiece and Tylee Irwin chipped in five. Kallie Theisen was the only Jackrabbit to score off the bench, contributing three points.
UCLA’s Thomas matched Selland’s 24 point output. She was joined in double figures by Charisma Osborne, who scored 11 points and had eight assists.
South Dakota State hosts Seton Hall Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. MT in the championship game of the WNIT. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.