Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Women Host IUPUI, at Oral Roberts
There's a logjam at the top of the Summit League women's basketball standings, with five teams sitting with one loss each.
South Dakota State, the pre-season favorite to win the conference, is one of those teams, despite missing two starters (Macy Miller, Clarissa Ober) for an extended period of time.
The Jackrabbits start the week at home, hosting IUPUI, Wednesday night.
The Jaguars (11-2/1-2) have lost two straight, but are a veteran team led by pre-season all-conference selections junior guard Danielle Lawrence and senior center Mikale Rogers. Lawrence leads IUPUI with 15 pints per game. Rogers, the league's sixth woman of the year last season, is in the top ten in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. Sophomore guard Sydney Hall is averaging 13 points per game in league play.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Wednesday in Brookings.
Saturday, the Jackrabbits travel to Oral Roberts.
The Golden Eagles (10-6/2-1) are another one of the one loss teams in the Summit after two weeks. They pulled off two big upsets on the road in non-conference play, winning at #12 Oklahoma and at Arkansas.
ORU has built a tradition of strong post play and this season is no different. Junior forward Faith Ihim and sophomore forward Maria Martianez are among the top six rebounders in the league, for a team that has grabbed 40 or more rebounds eight times this season, and 61 in a game back in November. They are the top offensive rebounding team in the conference.
Offensively, they attempt more shots than anyone, and are second in scoring. Guards Lakota Beatty and Kaylan Mayberry average 30 points per game between them.
Tipoff is 12:30 PM, Saturday in Tulsa.
South Dakota State ran its Summit League home winning streak to eight games with a pair of victories at Frost Arena last week.
Thursday against Fort Wayne, the Jacks weathered a four-minute scoreless stretch in the first quarter, responding with a 69 percent shooting performance in the second quarter to lead by seven at halftime.
Ellie Thompson, with a big height advantage inside, was one rebound shy of a double-double (19 points/9 rebounds), and had a perfect shooting night (8-for-8). Madison Guebert also had 19 points, while Kerri Young added 15 in the 73-51 win.
SDSU won despite attempting only seven three-pointers. The Jacks came into the game averaging better than 20 attempts per game.
Saturday, Young got off to a fast start on her way to a career day. Against Omaha, the senior guard scored half of her team's first quarter points (10) in just six minutes. She finished the game with 27 points, seven assists, and six rebounds in the 76-64 victory.
Sydney Palmer also added a career-high 20 points while Thompson got the double-double she had missed against IUPUI, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Jackrabbits used a 12-0 run to start the second half to extend their lead to 22, before the Mavericks cut the lead to six in the fourth quarter.
I talked with Jackrabbits Coach Aaron Johnston about last week's split and this week's games with Fort Wayne and Omaha: