It wasn't pretty, but despite 23 turnovers, Black Hills State University women's basketball was able to gut out a win against its arch-rival.
Three clutch free throws from Julia Seamans led the Yellow Jackets to a 59-55 win over South Dakota School of Mines Tuesday night at Goodell Gymnasium.
"Obviously you think how important the free throws are going to be," Seamans said of her attitude when approaching the line. "I just wanted to knock them down, help my team out however I could."
She helped her team out with 12 points in a game where Mines was more than up for the challenge. The Hardrockers jumped out to a 6-0 lead early, and at the end of the first quarter they led 19-11.
Mines Coach Ryan Larsen said he thought his team was in good shape.
"We executed as well as we have in awhile, got some really good looks, which is nice," he said. "The first quarter, we defended about as good as we've defended. Can you defend at a high level like that for four quarters? I would sure like to think so and I hope that's what we're capable of over the next two weeks."
The Yellow Jackets went on a 7-0 run to open the second quarter and bring themselves back to within striking distance. From there, the teams traded baskets until the half where Mines led 31-29.
The second half was where the Hardrockers shooting woes began. After shooting 12-of-29 for 41.4 percent in the first half, Mines shot just 8-of-28 in the second, for 28.6 percent.
"I really thought we were about as good offensively tonight as we've been in awhile," Larsen said. "We had a lot of good looks, but unfortunately that's the game. The ball didn't go in tonight."
Still, because of the Hardrockers' ability to force turnovers, they hung around, and at the end of the third quarter they only trailed 43-39.
Despite the win, BHSU coach Mark Nore said he wasn't happy with the turnovers.
"I thought they defended us really well," he said. "They scored 24 points off our turnovers and we're usually the team that turns other teams over. Give them a lot of credit, I thought they guarded us as good as anyone and took us out of a lot of things."
Mines took the lead back with 5:14 left in the fourth, but soon BHSU regained the lead at 54-51 with two minutes left.
The two teams traded baskets until the score was 56-55 with 31.6 seconds remaining and Mines was unable to score. The Hardrockers were forced to foul, and Seamans did the rest by hitting the free throws.
The redshirt junior said winning the game meant a season sweep of rival Mines, but also it's important for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings.
"It's a big deal, and we needed this win because we had a couple of tough losses," she said. "It was good for us to get back on track and it feels great. A win is a win and it's always nice to beat Tech."
BHSU, 18-6 overall 12-6 in the RMAC, also could point to a large rebounding edge as a way to make up for the turnovers. Behind Keely Bertram's 13 boards, the Yellow Jackets won the rebounding battle 38-24.
"That was huge. Keely Bertram was huge tonight, she was a defensive monster," Nore said. "They missed some shots, and a lot of times when teams are shooting 3s, there's a lot of long rebound situations. We were thankful we were able to secure a lot of those."
Nore also wasn't shy about saying that sweeping Mines was a big deal, which his team did after beating the Hardrockers 82-50 on Jan. 16.
He also said that his team has bigger goals in front of it.
"More so it's just important to get back on track. We had a tough weekend last weekend," he said, after road losses to Metro State-Denver and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. "For us, we're just kind of battling. More importantly, it's for the conference, we need to get back with some confidence."
In the other locker room, Larsen wasn't shy about his team's disappointment, in part because he thought it was close to pulling off the upset.
"It's going to take them a day or two to get over it," he said. "Before last weekend, I told a number of people that BH was playing the best basketball in the conference. So that's a really good team. We had some mistakes that would have helped us for sure, and it's the time of year to start correcting those. That disappoints me, that falls directly on me because I'm the one coaching them, so we have to find a way to get that done."
Rachel Erickson of BHSU led all scorers with 14. Sami Steffeck led Mines with 13, while Ryan Weiss pitched in 12, Cooper Courtney had 11 and Taylor Molstad had 10.
BHSU takes on Colorado Christian at home Saturday, while Mines, 14-10 overall 9-9 in RMAC, hosts Colorado School of Mines Saturday.