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    SD Mines WBB: Lady "Rockers Still Have Opportunity To Make RMAC Tourney

    RAPID CITY, S.D. --- The South Dakota School of Mines women’s basketball team suffered a minor setback this past weekend on its quest to gain entry into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference post-season tournament which is set to start in a couple of weeks (Feb. 28).

    The Lady Hardrockers suffered a heartbreaking loss to Black Hills State Saturday in Spearfish when a dramatic comeback fell just short to their rivals, 61-57. Before the game was played, both programs were tied for eighth place in the RMAC standings. To advance to the tournament, the conference takes the Top 8 teams. The loss dropped the ‘Rockers to 10th in the standings.

    “It’s disappointing to get that loss,” said Hardrocker women’s basketball head coach Ryan Larsen. “But the way we came back and the energy we played with and the way we executed offensively and defensively was very inspiring. Yes we lost, but the way we competed makes me proud of our kids.”

    With three games left on the schedule, SD Mines still has an opportunity to shake up the standings and climb back into contention for a playoff berth --- but they will need assistance to accomplish it.

    “The unfortunate thing is that we don’t control our own destiny for the playoffs,” Larsen said. “We are going to need a little bit of help. We’ll need to win these last three games on the road as we close out the season and then need some other teams to help us. But we are still very much alive and our kids know that.”

    The first order of business for the Hardrockers is winning the remainder of the games on their schedule. Western State CO University is at the top of the list as SD Mines will travel to Gunnison, Colo., Saturday for a rematch with the Mountaineers. The Hardrockers won the first matchup back on Jan. 27, defeating Western State, 53-37, in Rapid City.

    The Mountaineers are 6-17 on the season (5-14 in the RMAC) losing three of their last five games since facing the Hardrockers. Western State ranks last in scoring offense, posting just under 52 points per game and is ninth for scoring defense allowing just over 61 points each game. The Hardrockers are currently scoring 62.9 points and allowing 60.4 per game.

    “We have a good challenge coming up on Saturday,” Larsen said. That’s a tough place to play and Western is a good team even if their record doesn’t show it.”

    If the Hardrockers can keep Western’s top player --- junior Brianna Wilber --- in check, they will have a great opportunity to gain the win. Wilber is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 8.6 points per game. Teammates Harlie Williams and Sadie Stroup also score points for the Mountaineers as each are averaging just over seven markers each time out.

    The key for a SD Mines win will be getting off to a fast start, limit turnovers and locking down the boards. Senior Megan Rohrer is the ‘Rockers’ top point-getter, averaging 10.2 per game while freshman Anna Haugen, sophomore Taylor Molstad and freshman Sami Steffeck are all averaging over eight points each time out.

    The landscape of the RMAC tournament is sure to change after this weekend’s competition -- and if the Hardrockers can take care of their business, they are sure to rise up the standings and hopefully have an opportunity punch their ticket to the post-season.

    Saturday’s game is slated for a 5 p.m. start Saturday and the broadcast can be viewed on the RMAC Network by logging onto: .

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