The Black Hills State and South Dakota School of Mines women’s basketball teams renewed their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rivalry with an early season matchup Tuesday night in Spearfish.
It was the RMAC openers for both teams.
In what was a back-and-forth affair, especially in the second half, the Yellow Jackets rallied back from a late deficit, outscoring the Hardrockers 17-3 down the stretch and earned a hard-fought 55-47 victory over the Hardrockers at the Donald E. Young Center.
While BHSU finished ahead on the scoreboard, the final quarter was a struggle as the Yellow Jackets trailed 37-34 heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
The Hardrockers continued to dominate in the fourth quarter, leading by eight after Anna Haugen scored on a layup to make it 42-34.
BHSU began to battle back as Ashley Davis made a layup of her own and Morgan Ham nailed a jumper in the paint to cut the deficit to 42-38 with 6:12 remaining.
After a scoreless couple of minutes from both squads, Mines regained the momentum when Haugen made another layup.
Ham took over from there for the Yellow Jackets with a pair of free throws and a couple of jumpshots from the paint to tie the game at 44-all.
A pair of free throws from Ryan Weiss gave the Hardrockers the lead once again, before Noora Parttimaa hit a three to give BHSU its first lead of the fourth quarter.
From there, the Yellow Jackets took over and outscored Mines 10-1 in the final minute of regulation to put the game away.
The game was close throughout as BHSU won the first quarter 11-9, before taking a 22-17 advantage into the half.
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The Hardrockers got themselves back into the game with a 20-12 third quarter.
Ham led the way for the Yellow Jackets with 18 points, Racquel Wientjes chipped in with 11 points and Parttimaa finished with nine.
Katie Messler led Black Hills State with nine rebounds.
Mines coach Jeri Jacobson, in her first BHSU-Mines rivalry battle, said costly mistakes down the stretch did in her team.
"When we're not getting shots up, that really hurts us offensively. Then that puts more pressure on us getting stops," she said. "They had a couple of big baskets, and we had some really costly turnovers that we have to learn from."
Haugen had a big game for Mines as she finished with 11 points, while pulling in 18 rebounds, five of which were on the offensive end.
Weiss led the way in points with 14 and Naomi Hidalgo added seven.
Despite the loss, Jacobson said she was pleased with the progress the team is making in this early part of the season.
"They came out and played hard. We got down early to start this game and they battled back," Jacobson said. "I never really felt like the game was out of control as far as them going on a run and us not being able to stop that run. I was proud of the effort and the fight of the players. I told them in the locker room that we won most every statistical category, but the problem was we won the turnover category."
The Yellow Jackets and Hardrockers will play again in the regular season finale Feb. 28 in Rapid City.
Next up, Black Hills State (3-2) is back in action Dec. 6 at Westminster College, while South Dakota Mines (1-3) looks to bounce back at Dixie State University, also Dec. 6.