Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Women Host Denver, Oral Roberts
It's a rare stretch of home cooking for the South Dakota State women's basketball team this week, as they prepare for their only two games at Frost Arena during the second half of the 2018 Summit League schedule.
The Jackrabbits begin the week (19-5/8-1 Summit League) in sole possession of second place, a game-and-a-half behind South Dakota in the standings with three weeks left.
First up this week is Denver.
The Pioneers (13-11/4-5 Summit League) bring the Summit League' most up tempo offense to Brookings. They've attempted 70 or more shots in four of their last six games.
Denver also plays with an aggressive style that gets them to the free throw line the second most times per game of any team in the conference.
With size on the inside, including 6'2 Jordyn Alt and 6'1 Madison Nelson, the Pioneers are the top offensive rebounding in the Summit, number two in total rebounds per game.
They feature a young starting lineup with a freshman and two sophomores in the first five. Denver also has great scoring balance with six players averaging seven or more points per game.
South Dakota State won the first meeting 69-58. The Jacks trailed much of the game, but forced eight fourth quarter turnovers, keying a 26-14 run in the final ten minutes. The SDSU defense limited the Pioneers to just 25 percent from the floor in the second half.
The Jackrabbits got 18 points from both Macy Miller and Madison Guebert in the win. They also outscored Denver by 26 points inside and by 14 on second chance points, thanks to 16 offensive rebounds, the most for SDSU in a Summit League game this sesason.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Thursday in Brookings.
Saturday the brief homestand concludes when Oral Roberts comes to Frost Arena.
The Golden Eagles (14-9/5-4 Summit League) are one of the most accurate three-point shooting teams in the conference and allow opponents the second lowest field goal percentage (41%).
ORU had won three straight before shooting just 34 percent in a 22-point home loss to Western Illinois last week.
Senior Faith Ihim is the top rebounder in the Summit League and is in the top ten in steals and field goal percentage. She's hit 66 percent of her shots in the last seven games.
Junior Maria Martianez leads the way with 15 points per game.
SDSU won the first meeting 77-70. It was a game of runs with Oral Roberts scoring eight straight at one point in the first half, before the Jackrabbits had a 10-0 run of their own to lead by one at intermission.
In the second half, ORU opened with a 9-2 ruin to take a three point lead until South Dakota State opened the fourth quarter on a 11-4 tear. Guebert accounted for six of those points on her own.
Miller had 26 points for SDSU. Ihm led ORU with 24 points on 12-of19 shooting.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Brookings.
The Jackrabbits swept a pair of road games last week.
In Fargo, they put six players in double figures for the first time in 13 years in a 85-64 win at North Dakota State. Seven different SDSU players scored the the first quarter, helping the Jacks grab a 21-10 lead after ten minutes.
Ellie Thompson finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. She also collected three of SDSU's 15 offensive rebounds.
In Omaha, South Dakota State had their strongest start of the year, a season-high 35 points in the first quarter, as six different players scored in the first ten minutes. The Jacks hit nine of their first ten shots and made five three-pointers during that stretch to lead by 21 after one, en route to a 103-54 win. It was the second time in the last three games SDSU has topped the century mark.
In all, South Dakota State finished with 41 field goals, 30 assists, and 13 steals - all season highs.
Thompson had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
No player on the SDSU roster played more than 29 minutes in either win last week.
I talked with head coach Aaron Johnston about last week's sweep and this week's match-ups with Denver and Oral Roberts: