If South Dakota State is going to capture the Summit League women's basketball regular season championship, they're going to need some help.

The Jackrabbits (22-5/12-2) begin the final week of the season one game behind South Dakota in the standings, after being swept in the season series with the Coyotes. SDSU needs to win out and for USD to drop their final two to win the conference title outright.

First up for the Jackrabbits is IUPUI, Thursday night.

SDSU won the first meeting with the Jaguars, 68-66 in double overtime, in January. Neither team shot better than 40 percent in that game, as the two teams combined for 39 turnovers. The Jacks led by seven at halftime, but saw the Jaguars open the second half on an 11-0 run. Each team had 13 offensive rebounds, but SDSU made the most of their second chances, outscoring IUPUI 13-3.

The Jaguars (19-8/10-4) begin the week two games behind the second-place Jackrabbits. IUPUI is first in three-point defense, second in free throw shooting, and last in three-point shooting in the Summit League. Danielle Lawrence and Mikale Rogers are in the top ten in the conference in scoring. Rogers is eighth in rebounding. IUPUI's four Summit losses have all come by six points or less.

Tipoff is 6:00 PM in Indianapolis, Thursday night.

South Dakota State closes out the regular season at Western Illinois, Saturday.

The Jackrabbits won the first meeting with the Leathernecks, 85-63, in January. The SDSU defense limited WIU's potent three-point attack to just 1-of-13 from behind the arc in the first half, 5-of-28 for the game. The Jacks offense knocked down 13 threes in the game, their second most of the season.

The Leathernecks lead the Summit League in three-point and free throw shooting, and commit the fewest turnovers of any team in the conference. They are last in points allowed, and opponents field goal and three-point shooting percentages. Sophie Reichelt and Michelle Maher are both in the top ten in scoring. Reichelt is third in blocked shots, fourth in rebounding, and sixth in three-pointers made. Maher is third in assists and eight in three-pointers made.

Tipoff is 4:30 PM in Macomb, Saturday afternoon.

Last week, South Dakota State split a pair, beating Denver, 80-52, and losing at South Dakota, 80-75.

Against the Pioneers, the Jacks opened with a 15-2 run and added a 13-3 third quarter spurt to put the game out of reach. SDSU forced 23 turnovers, accounting for 30 points. They also grabbed 22 offensive rebounds converting them into 23 second chance points.

In Vermillion, the Jackrabbits fell behind by six early, then forced turnovers to lead by six in the second quarter. But, a combination of Clarissa Ober foul trouble, leading scorer Macy Miller tallying just two points thru the first three quarters, and USD's depth was too much to overcome. The Coyotes reserves outscored the SDSU bench 32-15.

I talked with head coach Aaron Johnston about last week's split and this week's match-ups with Denver and South Dakota:


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