3:00 PM ET, January 14, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- South Dakota State's success against established Division One women's basketball teams continues by the slightest of margins.Maria Boever, one of five Minnesota natives on the South Dakota State roster, sank an uncontested layup as the Williams Arena horn sounded, and the Jackrabbits had to wait through a lengthy video review by the three officials before it was ruled that the basket counted and gave them a 59-58 win at Minnesota."Anxiety, in terms of wanting the answer," said South Dakota State coach Aaron Johnston in reaction to the wait between Boever's shot and the final ruling. "We just wanted the answer as quick as possible.""It thought it was good," said Boever, a native of Worthington who set up under the basket after Andrea Verdegan drove the baseline and drew away Minnesota's defenders. The play began with 2.4 seconds left on the clock, and the horn sounded and the light display around the backboard went off as Boever took the final shot.Following their review and a discussion, the officials ruled that the ball left Boever's hands a fraction of a second before the light went off, which signals the end of regulation play."It was literally the difference of a couple of frames," said Johnston.The Gophers (11-7) began celebrating before the final ruling when they thought an official waved off the shot."They counted it good, then one of the officials went like this, no good," said Kelly Roysland, who scored 17 points, including a personal 11-point second-half run that got the Gophers back in the game."Everybody saw different things, I thought they changed their minds like two or three times during the course of the end of the game, said Minnesota coach Pam Borton. "They've got to call it like they see it, and go from there."Borton did get a chance to see the final seconds on tape."I did and I thought it looked good," said Borton, although Roysland is not so sure."I'd like to see it, just for my well-being," Roysland said.The Gophers had taken a 58-57 lead on two free throws by Ashley Ellis-Milan with 3.5 seconds left. That came less than a minute after Ellis-Milan missed two free throws that would have given Minnesota the lead.It was another win over an established Division One school this season for South Dakota State (12-5), which also has beaten Southern California, Virginia, Kansas, Colorado and Alabama."Little by little, we got back in the game," said Verdegan. "Somehow we kind of relaxed and just played basketball."Verdegan led the Jackrabbits with 15 points, with Jennifer Warkenthien scoring 13 and Courtney Grimsrud adding 10."I'm glad we got a win," said Megan Vogel, who's from St. Peter. "That was the reason we came here. Our only goal was to get a win."Prior to the last-minute drama, the Gophers appeared ready to snatch away the victory after trailing much of the game thanks to a sloppy first half in which they turned the ball over 16 times and trailed by as many as nine points."It wasn't so much a last-second play," said Borton. "It was the 16 turnovers in the first half, it was shooting 48 percent from the free-throw line. It was all those other things."Minnesota finally regained the lead at 46-44 on Roysland's baseline jumper with 12:46 remaining. The basket came after Roysland made three consecutive shots from three-point range to keep the Gophers close.The lone senior on the Minnesota roster also made a key block and a steal that led to Korrine Campbell's basket from the lane that stretched the Gophers' lead to 53-46.Roysland led Minnesota with 17 points, while Ellis-Milan had 10 points and nine rebounds.South Dakota State crawled back to within 56-55 on Warkenthein's three-pointer with 3:01 left. Megan Vogel put the Jackrabbits back on top at 57-56 with 1:33 left, and the score stayed that way until Ellis-Milan made her two free throws to set up the final play.South Dakota State is 11-0 when leading at the half, while Minnesota fell to 27-3 in non-conference home games under coach Borton.It was a seesaw game early on, with South Dakota State staying in front but never by more than three points. The Jackrabbits gained some breathing room by converting two Minnesota turnovers and an offensive foul into a basket and a free throw by Ashlea Muckenhim and a layup by Warkenthien for a 27-18 lead.Another Gopher turnover led to Morgan Meier's straightaway jump shot that banked off the backboard of a three-pointer and a 32-23 lead for the Jackrabbits.The loss comes three days after Minnesota won a buzzer-beater, defeating Northwestern 65-63 on Emily Fox's jump shot as time expired.
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