Summit League Preview: Jackrabbit Women Host Denver, at South Dakota
Even though there are two weeks to play in the 2016 Summit League women's basketball season, this weekend could decide which team will win the regular season championship, and grab the number one seed in the conference tournament.
For South Dakota State, the week involves playing two teams at opposite ends of the Summit League spectrum.
The Jackrabbits (21-4/11-1), winners of seven in-a-row, play their final home game of the regular season Thursday night against a Denver team that has dropped nine straight.
SDSU won the first meeting, 76-39, in Colorado, back in week one. The Jacks defense held the Pioneers to ten points or less in each of the first three quarters, as DU shot just 27 percent from the floor, and just 4-of-20 from the three-point line. Pre-season all-conference guard Paige Bradley was just 2-of-13 from the floor for nine points.
Pre-season all-conference guard Macy Miller led South Dakota State with 17 points, while freshman Maddie Guebert added 15 points in her first Summit League game. The Jacks hit 11 three-pointers in the game, and led by as many as 44 in the fourth quarter.
Denver (4-22/2-11) is last in the league in scoring, field goal shooting, three-point shooting, free throw shooting, and rebounding. Bradley, a senior, is eighth in the conference in scoring. Sophomore Jordan Alt is third in rebounding.
South Dakota State leads the Summit in fewest points allowed, rebounding, three-point accuracy, free throw shooting, and blocked shots. Miller is tenth in scoring. Junior Clarissa Ober and sophomore Ellie Thompson are in the top ten in rebounding. Ober is second in blocked shots.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Brookings, Thursday night.
Saturday, the Jackrabbits will play the final women's regular season game in the history of the DakotaDome, as USD moves into a new arena next season.
South Dakota won the first meeting, 63-58, last month in Brookings.
The game featured nine ties and 12 lead changes, and the two teams were deadlocked with less than a minute to play.
Free throw shooting loomed large in the USD win. The Coyotes made it to the line twice as often as SDSU and outscored the Jacks by three at the charity stripe.
The South Dakota defense also converted 19 South Dakota State turnovers into 23 points.
USD was led by Nicole Seekamp's 23 points and seven assists. SDSU's Clarissa Ober had eight blocked shots in the game. Ober leads the conference in that category.
The Coyotes (20-5/11-1) have won ten straight and lead the Summit League in scoring, field goal shooting, offensive rebounding, assists, and steals. Seekamp, the pre-season Player of the Year in the conference, is having a tremendous senior season - first in the league in assists, second in scoring and steals, third in free throw shooting, and fourth in field goal percentage. Senior Margaret McCloud hits 65 percent from the floor, leading all conference players. Saturday will be finale for the most successful senior class in USD Division I history as Seekamp, McCloud, Tia Hemiller, Kelly Stewart, and Heidi Hoff play their final regular season home game.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM in Vermillion, Saturday afternoon.
Against the Golden Eagles, the Jackrabbit defense held ORU to just one made basket in their first 15 attempts and 28 percent shooting overall in the first half. South Dakota State outscored Oral Roberts by ten each in points in paint and second chance points.
For SDSU, Miller (14 points) and Thompson (11 points) each scored in double figures, while Ober (9 points/11 rebounds) was one point away from a double-double.
Against the Mastodons, the Jackrabbits scored a season-high in points on 53 percent shooting. SDSU knocked down 11 three-pointers, won the rebounding battle by 12, and outscored IPFW by 16 inside.
Miller, Thompson, Chloe Cornemann, and Kerri Young all scored in double figures. Ober had eight points and 12 rebounds.
Allyson Bunch accounted for six of the Mastodons 12 three-pointers.
I talked with head coach Aaron Johnston about the victories and this week's match-ups with Denver and South Dakota: