South Dakota State secures another Summit title, NCAA berth with 67-54 win over North Dakota State

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Paige Meyer had 18 points, Tori Nelson scored seven of her nine during a 14-0 fourth-quarter run and South Dakota State earned its 12th trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 67-54 win over North Dakota State in the Summit League Tournament championship on Tuesday.

The Jackrabbits (27-5) defended their title when they forced the second-seeded Bison (21-11) into six-straight misses while they turned a one-point lead with six minutes to go into a 61-46 lead with 1:43 left.

Meyer start the run with a layup, Mesa Byom had a three-point play and then Nelson scored seven straight, sandwiching a 3-pointer around two layups. Meyer capped it with two free throws.

“We made some shots,” long-time South Dakota State coach Aaron Johnson said. “How about Tori Nelson, senior? My heart goes out to her, she didn’t finish (sprained ankle), hopefully we get some good news there. But a big 3, a couple big drives to the basket. She really played like you want to see a senior play.”

The Jackrabbits have won 20 straight since back-to-back losses to ranked Gonzaga and Creighton.

Brooklyn Meyer had 15 points and three blocks for South Dakota State, which made its first NCAA berth in 2008-09, its first season of eligibility. Madison Mathiowetz added 12 points and Byom had 11 with nine rebounds.

Heaven Hamling had 16 points for North Dakota State, in its first-ever title game. and Elle Evans had 11.

South Dakota State outscored North Dakota State by one point in each of the first three quarters to lead 42-39 entering the fourth quarter. The Jackrabbits never led by more than five until Brooklyn Meyer's three-point play made it 47-41. But Hamling made two free throws and her 3 with 6:30 to go cut the deficit to 47-46.

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