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Gonzaga Loses Heartbreaker to South Dakota State

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Three straight thrillers for the Zags

@CoachLesespn991 | Twitter

The Gonzaga women only play heart stopping thrillers. This time, it did not go in their favor. After failing to close out a lead late in regulation, South Dakota State hit a game winning three with three seconds remaining in overtime to beat Gonzaga, 75-72. The Bulldogs drop to 1-2, while South Dakota State improves to 3-0 with wins over Creighton and Iowa State.

The Jackrabbits came out firing in the first quarter. They hit four of their first five threes to take a 16-14 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. After extending the lead to eight, South Dakota State went cold. The Bulldogs held them to just two points in the final 4:27 of the second quarter and used a 12-2 run to take a 30-28 lead into the locker room. Coach Fortier played a whopping 13 players multiple minutes in the first half, including Loyola Chicago transfer guard Abby O’Connor, who received her waiver approval prior to Sunday’s game.

Less than a minute into the third quarter, SDSU leading scorer Myah Selland picked up her fourth foul. Despite that, the Jackrabbits were able to win the third quarter because of their 4-for-7 performance beyond the arc. Gonzaga found itself down by a point entering the final stanza.

The teams traded baskets the entire fourth quarter, with nobody holding a two possession lead. Finally, after battling foul trouble the entire game, Melody Kempton hit a go ahead bucket with 1:45 to go. Gonzaga would get a stop and two free throws from Jill Townsend to take a four point lead with a minute left. After a pair of free throws on the other end, Gonzaga got a big lift from Vanderbilt transfer Cierra Walker, whose jumper with 24 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 63-59 lead. After the Jackrabbits hit a quick one, Townsend went to the line to try and ice the game, but could only muster a split, leaving the door open. The Jackrabbits took advantage. Selland scored inside plus the foul to tie the game with 15 seconds left. Townsend’s last second jumper was off the mark and the two teams went to overtime tied at 64.

In overtime, the superstars went to work. Townsend hit a go-ahead jumper with 35 seconds to go, just to be answered by Selland’s three to give the Jackrabbits a two point lead. Townsend came right back with a layup to tie the game at 72 with under 10 seconds remaining. With all attention on Selland, she gave the ball up to Lindsey Theuninck for the game winning three.

Townsend finished with 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting, but will probably be kicking herself for her late missed free throw in regulation. Jenn Wirth was on triple-double watch, finishing with 7 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Selland wound up with a team-high 18 points for the Jacks, despite her foul trouble. The difference in the game: SDSU shot 11-for-25 from deep, while Gonzaga managed a 4-for-20 performance.