Black Hills State University women’s basketball coach Mark Nore is in a pretty decent spot just one weekend into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference season.

He said his team struggled out of the gates, and so did its opponent, Metropolitan State-Denver, for that matter. Yet, the Yellow Jackets had more than enough to capture a 72-57 victory Saturday night at the Young Center to remain unbeaten on the season.

“Both teams were a little flat tonight coming out,” Nore said. “I think we can really guard, even when we are flat. Uncharacteristically, we put them on the line a lot. We were fortunate that they missed free throws tonight (14-of-24).”

More importantly the win moved the Yellow Jackets to 2-0 in RMAC play and 8-0 on the season. MSU-Denver fell to 1-1 and 5-3.

“I think the win tonight kind of solidified us as being someone to at least think about,” Nore said. “I think Metro is a really good team and they are well coached. I felt like for us, hopefully we set the tone for the rest of the conference.”

MSU-Denver, coming off of its 70-58 win over South Dakota School of Mines Friday night, had a slight 12-9 edge at the end of the first quarter, only to see the Yellow Jackets take control in the second, outscoring the Roadrunners 25-13. BHSU led by as much as 19 in the fourth quarter, only to see Metro State cut the lead in half. But the Jackets responded with a run to close the game.

Tied at 25-all with a couple of minutes remaining until halftime, the Jackets scored the final nine points to take that nine-point lead into the locker room.

Five straight points by true freshman Lyndzi Rich, including a put-back at the buzzer, put BHSU up 34-25 at halftime.

The Roadrunners chipped away behind the hot shooting from Emily Hartegan (eight points in the third) and cut the lead to 43-38, before a 3-pointer by Rachel Erickson and a put-back by Cortez Standing Bear in the final seconds put the Jackets back up by 10, 51-41 leading to the fourth.

BHSU then scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to take control. A basket by Gabby Doxtator off of a hustle loose-scramble and a 3-pointer by Standing Bear put the Jackets up by 19 with a little over six minutes remaining.

The Roadrunners battled back and outscored the Jackets 11-2 and cut the lead to 10 on a 3-pointer by Mikala Gordon with three minutes remaining. That was as close as it would get the rest of the way.

Rich led all scorers off the bench with 16 points, while grabbing seven rebounds. The BHSU bench combined for 29 points, with Standing Bear adding seven.

“Our bench was key. We have a deep bench and kids can bump and rise up, and that is okay,” Nore said. “Lyndzi Rich, Gabby Doxtator and Cortez Standing Bear, they all came in and did well.”

Rich came into the game averaging seven points per contest and she is picking things up just eight games into her college career.

“I was a little nervous at first, but it’s getting good. The girls are really starting to look inside, which is nice. It makes my life easier,” Rich said.

Nore said the 6-footer from Worland, Wyo., has a long way to go, but she is learning every day.

“She has the right mentality,” Nore said. “She has a knack to score, with great hands inside. As she gains confidence and gains experience, she is just going to get better and better.”

Julia Seamans and Erickson added 13 points each for the Jackets, who shot a hair under 50 percent (31-of-63), including 5-of-18 3-pointers.

Gordon led the Roadrunners with 15 points, followed by Hartegan with 12 and Jonalyn Wittwer with 10. MSU-Denver was just 20-of-52 from the field, butting 3-of-15 3-pointers.

Black Hills State will get its first RMAC road test next weekend at Colorado Mines and Colorado Christian.

 Yellow Jacket men fall to Roadrunners

The Black Hills State men played just well enough to stay with Metro State-Denver, but not well enough to get over the hump in the end.

The Yellow Jackets never led and fell to the Roadrunners, 62-56 Saturday night at the Young Center.

The loss dropped BHSU to 1-1 in RMAC play and 4-2 on the season. Metro State moved to 2-0 and 3-5.

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BHSU coach Jeff Trumbauer said it was a combination of things that cost his team on Saturday.

"I thought they (MSU-Denver) did a good job defensively on us. I also thought we missed some shots that quite honestly we needed to make, and that we were making the night before," he said.

"But thirdly, we didn't run a very good offense. We were pretty static. No matter what we were trying to do, we talked about getting it swinging and getting it moving. We just were stuck with the first action and were trying to make the play. These guys are too good defensively to try to attack one-on-one time after time."

A slow start proved to be costly for the Yellow Jackets, who hit just 1-of-7 from the field to open the game. Despite that, BHSU hung tough with the Roadrunners, who eventually would lead by as much as 11, 30-19.

But Stefan Desnica gave the Jackets a late spark, nailing two straight 3-pointer to cut the lead to 30-25 at halftime.

A basket by Fraser Malcolm and a 3-pointer by Connor O’Hearn suddenly tied the game at 30-all just a couple minutes into the second half.

But the tie was quickly broken with two lay-ins and a dunk by Metro’s Bounama Keita as the Roadrunners regained the momentum.

Temporarily and then again.

BHSU cut the lead to one, and was on the line for two free throws, but the two charity tosses by Wyatt Krogman bounced out. Metro answered with a 3-pointer and a layup by Cameron Williams and the Jackets could never quite recover.

Another inside basket by Keita put the Roadrunners up by nine, 48-39, with 7:45 to play. BHSU had some life when Malcolm hit a 3-pointer and was fouled. He hit the free throw for the four-point play, but the Jackets could get no closer.

Williams led the Roadrunners with 25 points, while Keita adding 11.

Stoudamire paced the Jackets with 17 points and Malcom scored 10.

BHSU hits the road at Colorado Mines and Colorado Christian next weekend.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.