Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Women Host Omaha, North Dakota State
For the first time since joining the conference for 2008-09 season, SDSU opens play as neither the defending Summit League regular season or tournament champion.
Their quest to return to the top begins with a pair of games at home this week.
South Dakota State is 10-4 after a non-conference slate which saw them post victories over George Washington, North Carolina State, and Oklahoma.
Guard Macy Miller is back after missing most of last season with a knee injury. The junior has picked up right where she left off, leading SDSU and the Summit League with 18 points per game.
Fellow junior Madison Guebert is scoring 14 points per game, while true freshman Myah Selland, a former South Dakota Miss Basketball, is averaging ten points per game.
Shooting accuracy has been the biggest issue on offense through the first 14 games. SDSU is sixth in the league, hitting just 42 percent from the floor.
Inside, the Jackrabbits are trying to replace Clarrisa Ober, who has graduated. So far they've been doing it by committee with Selland, Miller, Tagyn Larson, and Ellie Thompson averaging better than five rebounds a game.
But rebounding is still a work in progress. In half of South Dakota's 14 games they have been out rebounded by their opponent.
Summit League play begins Wednesday (January 3), when the Jacks host Omaha.
The Mavericks are coming off one of their most successful seasons, which saw them advance to the Summit League Tournament semifinals. But, they'll be doing it this year without leading scorer Mikela Shaw, who has graduated.
This season UNO (8-5/0-1 Summit League) is guard heavy, extremely balanced scoring attack with four players - Jess Walter, Amber Vidal, Claire Killian, and Sioux Falls native Ellie Brecht - all averaging in double figures.
Inside, center Courtney Vaccher is second in the Summit in blocked shots and in the top ten on the defensive glass.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Wednesday in Brookings.
Saturday afternoon (January 6), the Jackrabbits host North Dakota State.
The Bison (7-7/0-0 Summit League) are doing things a bit differently on offense this season, trying to get more players involved and rely less on senior guard Taylor Thunstedt, who averaged 15 points per game last season, but got little help.
This season, Thunstedt is scoring about five points per game less, but the four young players around her - sophomores Rylee Nudell, Reilly Jacobson, and Sarah Jacobson, and freshman Michelle Gaislerova are all averaging around ten points a game.
The Bison are the most accurate three-point shooting team (38%) in the conference so far and are holding opponents to the second lowest shooting percentage (38%).
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Brookings.
I talked with Jackrabbits Coach Aaron Johnston about the match-ups Omaha and North Dakota State: