Brookings, SD -- The University of South Dakota Coyotes, traveled north to face the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Frost Arena Sunday afternoon for a frigid South Dakota Showdown, where the high for the day was a bone chilling six degrees below zero.
South Dakota Head Coach Amy Williams was proud of her team's performance in Frost Arena, where total game attendance was 4,082.
"It was a fun day for us," said Williams. "It's no secret of how long it's been since the Coyotes have won here."
The Coyotes (12-5, 3-1 Summit) entered the game fresh off of a double-overtime win against NDSU. The Jackrabbits (14-3, 4-0 Summit) held a 55-22 advantage in its series record versus South Dakota and had only fallen at home this season to then-rated No.3 Notre Dame November 21st.
The game started off frenzied, with tight man-to-man defense and a series of missed field goals by both teams, broken by a momentous and-1 play from South Dakota junior guard Caitlin Duffy. Halfway into the first period, the Coyotes led the Jacks 9-7.
Jackrabbit center Clarissa Ober was a dominant force in the paint and played up to her height of 6-foot-2 as she tallied six points and two rebounds to help South Dakota State gain the lead late in the first period. South Dakota preseason Player of the Year, Australian senior Nicole Seekamp, threw the boomerang to come back and tie the game 15-15 at the end of the first.
South Dakota built a five-point lead midway into the second, but sophomore Macy Miller, who leads South Dakota State in scoring and assists, rebounded her own missed layup off of a strong drive to bring South Dakota State to a three-point deficit.
The sea of blue and yellow in the packed arena jumped to its feet as Madison Guebert scored a three-pointer from the top of the key to gain the lead, 25-23 at the two-minute mark. A minute later, Miller found Guebert's fresh footprints in the snow and dropped another three from the top of the key, sending the Jacks fans into a deafening cheer.
South Dakota State took advantage of a final possession in the half with a beautiful eight-foot jumper at the buzzer by junior Kerri Young to bring the lead to 32-25 at halftime.
The second half started off with South Dakota shooting five for six, beginning with an easy layup from senior center Margaret McCloud, who sat for much of the first half in foul trouble. Seekamp then scored quick two baskets to bring South Dakota's deficit to just one.
South Dakota State brought its fans to their feet once again as Miller dove to throw the ball back towards their side to prevent an over-and-back violation off a loose ball, leading to a penetration and score by Guebert just as the shot clock expired.
The Jackrabbits held onto their 38-37 lead as Guebert caught a hail-Mary interception. Ferocious defense from the Coyotes forced a shot clock violation on South Dakota State, but an offensive rebound and put-back by Jacks' sophomore forward Ellie Thompson barely bounced its way through the rim to end the third quarter, 40-37.
The fourth quarter opened with a three-point basket by South Dakota's Kelly Stewart to mark the sixth tie of the game. Tensions were high as both teams fought for the lead.
South Dakota's bench was brought to its feet screaming as sophomore center Kate Liveringhouse was fouled on a made layup and knocked down the free throw, bringing the Coyotes within one point again, 43-44.
Defense played a crucial role as each team fought to force turnovers and stops, including back-to-back blocks by Ober. Young scored a three-pointer from the left wing and a mid-range jumper for the Jacks while junior guard Jasmine Trimboli knocked down a three and Seekamp made a jumper for South Dakota.
Ober and Guebert combined for five points that were quickly matched with four from Seekamp off a jumper and two free throws to tie the game at 58 with 54 seconds remaining in the game.
Seekamp hit a devastating three-pointer with fifteen seconds left, marking the Coyotes' sixth lead in the fourth quarter. South Dakota State took a timeout to stop the clock and draw up a play, and Guebert missed the three-point basket to tie the game with just six seconds left. McCloud grabbed the rebound and got it to Seekamp, who was fouled and dropped both free throws to cinch the Coyote win, 63-58.
LOOK at our EXCLUSIVE VIDEO of South Dakota's Reaction below:
Seekamp finished with 23 points, seven assists, and four rebounds. Stewart notched 13 points, five rebounds. Hemiller finished with seven points, and Trimboli scored five with five rebounds.
Jackrabbit Head Coach Aaron Johnston commented, "[It was] a tough loss. Everyone on our team is disappointed, and rightfully so."
Macy Miller scored 20 for South Dakota State, while Ober scored 10, got eight rebounds, and tied the school record with eight blocks. Guebert tallied 10 points, while Young scored seven with six rebounds and four assists. Thompson nabbed six points, nine rebounds.