Jan. 2, 2015
WBB at South Dakota State (2 JAN 15) - Audio Only
BROOKINGS, S.D. - The University of Denver women's basketball team struggled shooting the ball in the first half and was defeated by South Dakota State University Friday night at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. Denver (3-12) dropped its Summit League opener to SDSU (10-4) 85-44.
South Dakota State historically plays extremely well at home in Frost Arena and this game was no exception. More than 2100 fans turned out for the game and the Jackrabbits have now won 55 of 61 home games in Summit League play. "The second half we came out more aggressive defensively and we just didn't have that attacking mindset in the first half," said Denver head coach Kerry Cremeans. "That's a credit to the Jackrabbits and the kind of atmosphere that they create here at home."
The Jackrabbits shot the ball well and used a suffocating defense to hold the Pioneers to a season-low 13 points in the first half, while carrying a 33-point advantage into halftime. Sophomore Jesse Spittel (Yorba Linda, Calif.) scored the first basket of the game to give the Pioneers the lead, but the Jackrabbits went on a 16-2 run over the next 5:26 to take control of the game. South Dakota State finished the half on a 22-3 run and led 46-13 at the break.
SDSU shot 54 percent (15-of-28) from the field in the first half, including 46 percent (6-of-13) from the 3-point line, while holding Denver to four made field goals in the first half and 0-for-3 from behind the 3-point line.
"They are just a well-oiled machine," said Cremeans. "From top to bottom they have depth and strength from the guards and the posts and made it difficult for us in the first half," Cremeans said.
Denver played much better in the second half, shooting 45 percent and scoring 31 points to SDSU's 39, but the game was out of reach. For the game, Denver shot 28 percent (17-of-60) from the field and 20 percent (2-of-10) from the 3-point line, while South Dakota State made 50 percent (27-of-54) of its attempts from the field and shot 52 percent (12-of-23) from behind the 3-point arc.
Jordan Johnston (Waterloo, Iowa) and Alecia Espinoza (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) were each in double figures with 10 points apiece. Espinoza also led DU in rebounding with five boards. Junior Paige Bradley (The Woodlands, Texas) put in six points and dished out four assists. Redshirt-freshman Tori Bryant (Brea, Calif.) finished with career highs in points (3) and rebounds (3) in 12 minutes.
Senior Morgan Van Riper-Rose (Eden Prairie, Minn.) moved into 16th place on Denver's all-time scoring list when she sank a free throw with 4:46 remaining in the game. Van Riper-Rose surpassed Micki Singer and now has 1,137 career points, 11 points behind Kelly Cobb for 15th place.
Sophomore Kerri Young led the Jackrabbits with a game-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Guard Megan Waytashek put in 13 points and collected four rebounds. Senior Rachel Walters nailed four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points on the night, while forward Ellie Thompson contributed 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
The Pioneers are back in action Sunday January 4 when they host new Summit League member Oral Roberts at Magness Arena at 4 p.m. MT. It's a doubleheader for Denver basketball as the men's basketball team plays against South Dakota at 1 p.m. A video broadcast is available on Pioneer Vision here.
Information on all DU basketball ticketing options can be obtained by calling the Daniel L. Ritchie Center Box Office at (303) 871-2336, or by visiting the ticket page on DenverPioneers.com.
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