For much of the Gates Center afternoon, IPFW had to play catchup against South Dakota State. Reflective of the Summit League standings, it’s difficult to catch a Jackrabbit.
A stretch that lasted a little more than six minutes without a basket early in the second half gave league-leading South Dakota State (14-7, 9-1) just enough of a window to build an 11-point cushion – one in which it rode to a 76-66 win Saturday.
When freshman center Hillary Moore dropped in a short jumper with 14:48 still to play, IPFW (7-14, 4-6) closed within 42-41. But a harassing South Dakota State zone defense caused the Mastodons to miss their next six shots, while the Jackrabbits offense remained on speed dial. By the time senior center Stephanie Rosado scored from close range with 8:31 left, IPFW was looking at a 56-47 deficit from which it never recovered.
“No. 1, it’s the most physical basketball team we’ve ever played against, and we’ve played against Big Ten teams,” IPFW coach Chris Paul said. “I’m not quite sure how they get away with it, but they do. I’m not making any excuses, but they are just very physical, and they wear you down. That’s really what happened. As the game went on, some of our players got a little fatigued, so when the legs go or mentally you start getting tired, the shots don’t fall.”
Even though IPFW hit 19 of 19 free throws, South Dakota State was nearly as effective, hitting 23 of 25.
Rosado led IPFW with 21 points.
For more on this game, read Sunday’s Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.