BC-BKW--NCAA-South Dakota St-Syracuse,1st Ld-Writethru
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse seemed to be in total control. And then it wasn’t.
A 10-0 run fueled by three turnovers to start the fourth quarter propelled the No. 3 Orange to a 57-53 lead with a little more than seven minutes to go against No. 6 South Dakota State.
With a loud Carrier Dome crowd behind them, the Orange had all the momentum.
South Dakota State had other ideas.
Led by Madison Guebert, who scored 18 of her 20 points on 3-pointers, including two critical 3s in the fourth quarter, the Jackrabbits went on a 16-2 run to defeat Syracuse 75-64 on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Our team is a very poised team. We always stay composed. There really wasn’t ever a sense of panic for us, even when they had their few runs, especially when we had those few turnovers,” Guebert said. “We had confidence in each other. We knew that if we kept into our system, moved the ball, we were going to be able to knock down shots.”
The victory sends the Jackrabbits (28-6) to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history. They will face No. 2 Oregon on Friday in the regional semifinals in Portland, Oregon.
Guebert had 14 of her points in the second half. Myah Selland added 17 for South Dakota State, Macy Miller had 11, and Paiton Burckhard 10.
Tiana Mangakahia led Syracuse (25-9) with 18 points. Kiara Lewis had 13.
Syracuse shot 10 of 16 in the first quarter but hit just 16 of 48 the rest of the way, the Orange caving at the end by missing shot after shot after shot as the game slipped away.
“You can’t end the game 1 of 11 and on a 16-2 run,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We have to do a better job of closing games. We were playing unsettled (during the Jackrabbits’ run). When we’re making shots it’s different. We really couldn’t get into our pressure and that’s our game. We have to make shots so we can press.”
The Orange defense forced three consecutive turnovers and Syracuse scored 10 straight points to open the fourth quarter to take a 57-53 lead with 7:23 to go. Miranda Drummond scored four points during the run.
“Syracuse did a great job of making that stretch really hard for us,” South Dakota State coach Aaron Johnston said. “I thought part of what that fourth quarter was, I know we came out of a break, but we were just a little bit worn down, too. In the timeout, we talked about what we had done well in that game and the fight that it took to have going into that quarter just to settle ourselves back in.
“When you have players like Macy (Miller) and Maddy (Guebert) out there that have been there before, they are a calming influence and they made some shots.”
A lay-in by South Dakota State’s Tagyn Larson tied the game at 57 with 6:13 remaining. With the game tied at 59, Mangakahia hit a corner 3 to give the Orange a 62-59 lead with 4:50 to go, but the Jackrabbits scored 12 straight points, six on consecutive 3s by Guebert, to take a 71-62 lead with less than a minute remaining.
The Orange scored just two points in the final 4:50.
On the other side, South Dakota State looks forward to Friday.
“It’s a great, great, great day to be a Jackrabbit,” said Johnston, who sustained a fat lip in the post-game celebration.
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits have one of the longest winning streaks in the nation at 18 and their fans and support are impressive. While Miller is key, the rest of the lineup is capable of big contributions just as they did against the Orange.
Syracuse: Mangakahia, second in the nation in assists per game, finished with eight, giving her a program-record 591 for her Syracuse career, one more than Alexis Peterson. She has one more year of eligibility but could opt to turn pro. That would leave a big void, though Hillsman still has a strong roster that had the Orange ranked in the top 15 at the end of the regular season.
“If Tiana is ready to go, and they want to draft her, then she should go,” Hillsman said. “If she’s a high draft pick she should go. I’m never going to tell someone to not follow their dreams and what’s in their best interest. I’ll support Tiana in whatever she wants to do.”
South Dakota State plays No. 2 Oregon on Friday in the regional semifinals in Portland, Oregon.
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