The South Dakota State University women's basketball team will make its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, starting Saturday with a visit to nationally ranked Purdue.Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time (12:30 p.m. Central) at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. The game will be televised on ESPN2, with additional coverage online at ESPN3.com.Both teams enter postseason play with 24-8 overall records. The 13th-seeded Jackrabbits, who won both the regular season and tournament Summit League titles, have been victorious in 15 of their last 16 games. Fourth-seeded Purdue has won its last five games, claiming the Big Ten Conference tournament championship with a 74-70, double-overtime victory over Nebraska on March 4.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: Following is a look at the pairings and schedule for the games to be hosted by Purdue:
Saturday, March 17
* No. 5 South Carolina (23-9) vs. No. 12 Eastern Michigan (23-8), 11 a.m. ET
* No. 13 South Dakota State (24-8) at No. 4 Purdue (24-8), 1:30 p.m. ET
Monday, March 19
* USC/EMU winner vs. SDSU/Purdue winner, 7 p.m. ET [winner advances to Fresno Regional]
POSTSEASON HISTORY: The Jackrabbit women's basketball team will be making its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and sixth straight postseason appearance overall. SDSU qualified for the Women's NIT in 2007 and 2008 while completing its transition to Division I.SDSU is 3-5 in Division I postseason games, including 1-3 in the NCAA Tournament.Following is a look at SDSU's postseason experience at the Division I level:
* First Round: Bye
* Second Round: SDSU 61, Illinois State 48 (at Brookings, S.D.)
* Third Round: SDSU 60, Indiana 53 (at Brookings, S.D.)
* Quarterfinals: Wyoming 70, SDSU 59 (at Laramie, Wyo.)
* First Round: Creighton (Neb.) 76, SDSU 69 (at Brookings, S.D.)
* First Round: SDSU 90, Texas Christian 55 (at Lubbock, Texas)
* Second Round: Baylor (Texas) 60, SDSU 58 (at Lubbock, Texas)
* First Round: Oklahoma 68, SDSU 57 (at Norman, Okla.)
* First Round: Xavier 72, SDSU 56 (at Cincinnati, Ohio)
SDSU also had a rich tradition of women's basketball in NCAA Division II, making nine postseason appearances, including three consecutive Elite Eight appearances (2002, 2003, 2004) to close its run at that level. The Jackrabbits won the 2003 NCAA Division II national championship, defeating Northern Kentucky, 65-50, in St. Joseph, Mo.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Local radio coverage begins at noon Central Time Saturday on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, with J.J. Hartigan calling the play-by-play. Besides network flagship WNAX 570 AM, the game can be heard on the following Jackrabbit Sports Network affiliates:
* KJJQ 910 AM-Brookings
* KOTA 1380 AM--Rapid City
* KGFX 1060 AM-Pierre
* KSDR 1480 AM-Watertown
Free audio streaming will be available through the Jackrabbit Extra at GoJacks.com.In addition, the game will be televised in South Dakota on ESPN2, with coverage available throughout the world at www.ESPN3.com.
THE SERIES: Saturday's game will mark the third meeting between South Dakota State and Purdue, with the Boilermakers winning both previous matchups on their home floor.
Purdue claimed the initial meeting, 57-50, on Dec. 28, 2004, during the Jackrabbits' inaugural season in Division I. Sarita DeBoer led the Jackrabbits with 13 points, followed by 12 from Shannon Schlagel. Katie Gearlds led the Boilermakers with a game-high 24 points.
The two programs met again last season in the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT, with Purdue handing the Jackrabbits a 73-40 defeat on Nov. 18, 2010.The Boilermakers never trailed against SDSU, racing out to an 8-3 lead in the opening minutes. The Jackrabbits were held without a field goal for nearly nine minutes until freshman Megan Waytashek hit a three-pointer with 9 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the first half to pull SDSU to within 16-9.
Waytashek came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points for the Jackrabbits. Jill Young also reached double figures with 12 points, sinking a pair of three-pointers.
SDSU struggled in all aspects of shooting the basketball. The Jackrabbits' 15-of-44 effort from the field included 5-for-18 shooting from long range. At the line, SDSU converted only 5-of-14 attempts, 35.7 percent.
The Boilermakers, meanwhile, shot an efficient 29-of-53, 54.7 percent, overall from the field but were only 1-of-7 on three-pointers. Purdue made 14-of-18 free throw attempts for 77.8 percent.
Guard Brittany Rayburn led Purdue with 19 points, followed by Drey Mingo with 17 as both players finished the game 7-of-9 from the field. Antoinette Howard added 15 points in a reserve role.
Purdue also dominated in the rebounding department, holding a 37-22 advantage on the boards. Rayburn, Howard and Dee Dee Williams tallied six rebounds each to lead the Boilermakers, while Waytashek and Jennifer Schuttloffel each notched six boards to lead the Jackrabbits.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Since moving to Division I at the start of the 2004-05 season, the Jackrabbits have faced 14 nationally ranked opponents. SDSU has compiled a 2-12 record against ranked opponents, dropping the last six games — three of which have been in NCAA Tournament games (to Baylor in 2009, Oklahoma in 2010 and Xavier (Ohio) in 2011).
The Jackrabbits' last win over a ranked opponent was a 65-55 victory at 25th-ranked Minnesota on Dec. 9, 2008. SDSU's other win over a ranked foe was a 67-63 victory over No. 19 Southern California on Nov. 17, 2006, at Frost Arena.
ALL-LEAGUE PERFORMERS: South Dakota State's Jennie Sunnarborg earned first-team honors and Ashley Eide and Jill Young each received second-team recognition on the All-Summit League Women's Basketball Team, which was announced by league officials on March 1.
In addition, Jackrabbit mentor Aaron Johnston was named Summit League Coach of the Year after leading South Dakota State to the regular season title. Voting for the league awards was compiled from votes by the league's 10 head coaches, sports information directors and select media members.
A senior forward from Osseo, Minn., Sunnarborg averaged team bests of 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 18 league games, while shooting 51.5 percent from the field. For the season, Sunnarborg is averaging 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. She was a second-team all-Summit League honoree a season ago.
Joining Sunnarborg on the first team were guards Dayon Hall-Jones of UMKC and Kevi Luper of Oral Roberts, as well as forwards Amber Hegge, South Dakota; Kerah Nelson, IUPUI, and Bethany Watterworth, Oakland. Luper was named Summit League Player of the Year for the third consecutive year.
Young, a senior guard from Mitchell, moved to the second team after receiving honorable mention honors in 2011. She ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.0 points per game overall, including an average of 13.1 points per game in league play. She holds the SDSU career record with 292 three-pointers and shot 43.1 percent from behind the arc in league games.
A junior guard from Sioux Falls, Eide moved into the starting lineup this season and has contributed averages of 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and a team-best 49.1 field goal percentage.
Rounding out the second team were North Dakota State center Janae Burich, IPFW forward Stephanie Rosado and Western Illinois forward Sadie Webb.
Johnston earned Summit League Coach of the Year honors for the third time after guiding SDSU to a 16-2 mark in league play and a 21-8 overall record heading into this weekend's Summit League Basketball Championship. Johnston is the Summit League career leader in both overall (.728) and league (.830) career winning percentage.
The Jackrabbits open the Summit League Basketball Championship at noon Saturday against eighth-seeded IPFW.
815 AND COUNTING: SDSU's victory over Oakland on Dec. 29 was the 800th in the women's basketball program's history. Since the modern era of women's basketball at South Dakota State University began with a 6-0 mark during the 1966-67 season, the Jacks have gone on to compile an overall record of 815-366 (.690 winning percentage).
In addition, SDSU has sealed its 26th consecutive winning season between competing at the NCAA Division II and Divsion I levels.The Jackrabbits' last losing season was an 11-16 campaign during the 1985-86 season.
160 D-I WINS: Since moving up to the NCAA Division I ranks at the start of the 2004-05 season, the Jackrabbits have posted a winning record against D-I opponents. In its seven-plus seasons competing at the Division I level, SDSU has compiled a 165-65 mark (.717 winning percentage) versus D-I opposition. The Jackrabbits have posted victories over 54 different Division I teams representing 20 conferences plus independents.
TOUGH AT HOME: The Jackrabbit women's basketball team has gained a decisive home-court advantage at Frost Arena over the past decade.
In his tenure as Jackrabbit head coach, Johnston has led the Jackrabbits to a 148-22 record (.871 winning percentage) at Frost Arena, including a 93-13 mark (.877 winning pct.) at home during the Division I era. The Jackrabbits have put together home winning streaks of 15, 15 and 22 in the process. Their current home winning streak is nine.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, SDSU has a 137-17 home record (.890 winning percentage), losing an average of less than two games at Frost Arena each full
season. The Jackrabbits capped the 2008-09 regular season with a 14-0 record - a mark that stands as the first undefeated home season in school history.
A loss to Western Kentucky early in the 2009-10 campaign snapped a 35-game
regular season home winning streak, as well as a 15-game overall winning streak that began after SDSU lost to Creighton (Neb.) in the first round of the 2008 Women's NIT.
SDSU's loss to Oral Roberts on Jan. 4, 2010, marked its first home loss to a Summit League opponent.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: The Jackrabbits have been the top rebounding team in The Summit League throughout the season, out-rebounding their opponents by 7.2 boards per game overall and 9.3 per league contest.
The Jackrabbits had their streak of holding a rebounding advantage end at seven games in the Dec. 21 loss at Nebraska, but again controlled the boards in their Dec. 29 matchup against Oakland. Overall, the Jackrabbits have out-rebounded their opponents in 25 of their 32 games this season, posting a 21-4 record when winning the battle of the boards.
The Jackrabbits have held a double-digit rebounding advantage 12 times this
season, including each of the first two games of the 2012 Summit League Basketball Championship.
TOEING THE LINE: Despite some struggles early in the season at the free throw line, the Jackrabbits were one of the most efficient teams at the stripe during Summit League play.
In 18 league games, SDSU ranked third among the league's 10 teams by shooting 76.3 percent (296-of-388) at the free throw line, starting with a 9-for-9 effort Nov. 30 at Western Illinois. The Jacks shot above 80 percent in eight games, including 23-of-25 (92 percent) efforts at IPFW on Jan. 28, during which they started a string of 27 consecutive made free throws, and again on Feb. 25 versus IUPUI. SDSU ranked first in both made free throws and free throw attempts during league play.
The Jackrabbits set a single-game school record with 48 free throw attempts in their Jan. 14 game against UMKC. The team's 34 makes were two off the school mark. In the Feb. 11 rematch versus UMKC, SDSU made 23-of-24 free throws tries in the second half and finished the game 29-of-33 overall, 87.9 percent.
Individually Jill Young shot 88.0 percent (44-of-50) from the stripe in league games, while Jennie Sunnarborg finished at 81.4 percent (96-of-118).
BENCH POINTS: South Dakota State reserves have played a key role in the Jackrabbits sporting a 24-8 record this season. A relatively young and inexperienced Jackrabbit bench has outscored the opponent's reserves in 24 games this season, including a string of 15 consecutive games. SDSU held an 89-28 advantage in the three Summit League tournaments games. Overall, the Jackrabbits have outscored opposing reserves by 253 points, 637-382, thus far during the 2011-12 season.
Since moving into a reserve role at the close of the calendar year, junior center Katie Lingle has held at least a share of the team lead in bench points in nine of the last 18 contests, including a 13-point outing Feb. 25 against IUPUI.
Freshman wing Rachel Walters held at least a share of the top output off the bench for the third time in four games and seventh time this season with nine points in the Feb. 4 win over Southern Utah. Walters reached double figures for the first time in the Jan. 20 win at North Dakota State, scoring 10 points as she sank three trifectas. Walters set a career high with 12 points — all on three-pointers — in the Jackrabbits' Jan. 30 win at Oakland.
DOUBLE DUTY: For only the second time in the Division I era, two Jackrabbit players turned in double-double performances in the same game.
Jennie Sunnarborg and Ashley Eide accomplished the feat Feb. 11 in a victory at UMKC. Sunnarborg tallied 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, while Eide posted totals of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Sunnarborg also had a hand in the initial double-double tandem. In a Jan. 23, 2010, win over Oakland, Sunnarborg collected 20 points and 11 rebounds. Maria Boever was the other half of the duo with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
In all, four different Jackrabbit players have posted double-doubles this season. Katie Lingle was the first SDSU player to turn in a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against IPFW on Dec. 31, while Jill Young tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds versus Oral Roberts on Feb. 6.
SUMMIT LEAGUE SUCCESS: South Dakota State has built an impressive Summit League résumé during its tenure in the 10-team conference.
Since joining the league at the start of the 2007-08 season, the Jackrabbits have
compiled a 75-15 record (.833 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games en route to outright league titles with records of 16-2 in 2007-08, 17-1 during the 2008-09 season and 16-2 during the 2011-12 campaign. In addition, SDSU has gone 40-5 at home (.889 winning percentage) against league foes and has won at least one game on every other Summit League member's home court with the exception of first-year member South Dakota.
YOUNG REACHES MILESTONES: Senior guard Jill Young has reached a pair of milestones during the 2011-12 season.
The Mitchell native became the 30th member of the Jackrabbit Women's Basketball 1,000-Point Club when she sank a first-half three-pointer during South Dakota State's win over Washington State on Nov. 20.
Young enters Saturday's game against Purdue in 16th place on the Jackrabbit career scoring chart with 1,337 points, after passing both Pat Dobratz (1,334 points from 1971-74) and Angie Swenson (1,335 points from 1994-97) in the Summit League championship game. Next on the list is former teammate Jennifer Warkenthien, who scored 1,349 points from 2006-09.
Young has been a top-notch long range shooter throughout her collegiate career and has set a new Jackrabbit standard with 301 career three-pointers, breaking the previous record of 250 held by both Brenda Davis (2001-04) and Kristin Rotert (2008-11) in the Dec. 29 game against Oakland. Her 301 three-pointers also tie her with IPFW standout Anne Boese for the most all-time three-pointers in Summit League history.
Through the first 32 games of the season, Young leads the squad with 79 three-pointers and ranks eighth nationally in three-point percentage at 40.7 percent at the start of the week. She tied a career high with seven three-pointers in the Nov. 11 season opener against St. Cloud State. In the 14 games since setting the new Jackrabbit standard Dec. 29 against Oakland, Young is a combined 48-for-102 (47.1 percent) from long distance. She made 6-of-11 attempts in a Dec. 31 home game versus IPFW, then went 4-of-9 Jan. 7 at Oral Roberts and 5-of-10 at Southern Utah two days later.
The Mitchell native ranked third among NCAA Division I players during the 2008-09
season by shooting at a 46.1 percent (82-of-178) clip from three-point range. Young's 82 made three-pointers also set a Jackrabbit freshman record.
For her career, Young is shooting 41.3 percent from three-point range, 301-of-729, including a team-best 78-of-188 - 41.4 percent - last season to rank 21st nationally for three-point percentage.
Young also has been an 83.7 percent (236-of-282) career shooter from the free throw line. She has shot well above her career average this season, making 91 percent (81-of-89) of her attempts to rank second nationally behind Abby Oliver (94.2 percent) of Richmond (Va.).
SUNNY SIDE UP: Senior forward Jennie Sunnarborg has led the Jackrabbits in scoring throughout much of the 2011-12 season. A native of Osseo, Minn., Sunnarborg has upped her scoring average to a team-best 14.3 points per game after averaging 17.1 points per game in Summit League play. She is shooting 80.4 percent (135-of-168) overall from the free throw line, ranking seventh at SDSU for single-season free throws.
Sunnarborg also is contributing a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game after setting a single-game career high with 13 boards at UMKC on Feb. 11 and again Feb. 13 at South Dakota.
On the career charts, Sunnarborg became the 31st player in Jackrabbit women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point mark, accomplishing the feat Jan. 14 against UMKC with a career-high 31 points. She enters the week with 1,215 career points, good for 25th place on the Jackrabbit career scoring charts.
Sunnarborg also has moved into sole possession of fourth place in career blocked shots at South Dakota State with 110, passing both Lora Kluis (108 blocked shots from 1994-97) and Sarita DeBoer (108 blocks from 2002-05) in the March 3 victory over IPFW.
In 18 Summit League games, Sunnarborg averaged 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest, while shooting 51.5 percent (100-of-193) from the field. Prior to her career night against UMKC on Jan. 14, Sunnarborg recorded a pair of season-high 23-point outings. In a Dec. 2 victory at IUPUI, Sunnarborg scored 23 points and added five rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. On Jan. 7, Sunnarborg again tallied 23 points, including a perfect 9-for-9 performance at the free throw line. Two days later, at Southern Utah, Sunnarborg tallied a game-high 22 points. Her 23-point performance on 9-of-10 shooting from the field in the Feb. 27 win over Western Illinois marked the ninth time this season and 18th time in her career she reached the 20-point mark.
Sunnarborg also compiled a 22-point, four-rebound performance against Washington State on Nov. 20, in which she made the go-ahead basket with 1:05 remaining in the game. She also was 12-for-14 at the free throw line in the Jackrabbit victory.
Sunnarborg broke out of a four-game slump with a 20-point, seven-rebound performance against nationally ranked Nebraska on Dec. 21, followed by a 21-point, six-rebound night against Oakland on Dec. 29.
She capped the regular season by beingnamed Summit League Player of the Week for her performances in Jackrabbit victories over IUPUI and Western Illinois. For the week, Sunnarborg averaged 21.5 points and five rebounds per game, shooting 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the field, including a perfect-4-for-4 from three-point range. She also made all nine free throw attempts and contributed 2.5 assists per game, while playing only 25 minutes per night.
In the Jackrabbits' victory over IUPUI on Feb. 25, Sunnarborg scored 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including 3-for-3 from long distance. In her final regular season appearance at Frost Arena, Feb. 27 against Western Illinois, the Osseo, Minn., native tallied 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor.
EIDE ON THE MARK: Junior guard Ashley Eide has put together a strong season for the Jackrabbit women's basketball team, leading the team in field goal percentage (50.4 percent), ranking second in assists (73), steals (36), three-pointers (31), and third in both rebounding (4.8 rpg), and scoring (11.0 ppg).
Eide was named Summit League Player of the Week following her 21-point, five-rebound performance at nationally ranked Nebraska on Dec. 21. She was 9-of-14 from the field, including 3-for-3 from three-point range. Eide added two assists and two steals in 30 minutes of action.
She tallied double figures for the fifth consecutive game with 12 points in the Dec. 31 win over IPFW. Eide made a pair of three-pointers, while adding nine rebounds and a career-high seven assists. On Jan. 20 at North Dakota State, Eide turned in another strong all-around performance, tallying game highs of 20 points and seven rebounds, while adding three assists and three steals.
The Sioux Falls native was impressive in the season opening weekend, tying a career high with six assists in the season-opening win over St. Cloud State on Nov. 11, then pouring in a career-high 27 points with eight rebounds in the Jackrabbits' victory over Utah State. Eide did not miss a two-point shot in the two games, going a combined 11-for-11. She also was 3-of-8 on three-point attempts to finish the weekend 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) overall from the field.
Eide continued her strong play by averaging 11 points and 3.5 rebounds during the opening week of Summit League play. She scored nine points at Western Illinois on Nov. 30, then went 5-of-7 from the field en route to 13 points in the Dec. 2 victory at IUPUI.
PALUCH OUT: Starting guard Steph Paluch suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Jackrabbits' Summit League semifinal victory over IUPUI. Paluch was injured on a play in which she recorded a steal and breakaway layup that gave SDSU a 20-16 lead.
A Pierre native, Paluch leads the team with 44 steals (1.42 spg) and 78 assists (2.52 apg), including recording a career-high eight assists in SDSU's 63-58 win over Washington State on Nov. 20. Paluch also has contributed averages of 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Her five steals Dec. 2 at IUPUI established a new career high and are the most by a Jackrabbit player this season.
Paluch tallied career highs of 18 points, five rebounds and four three-pointers in the Jackrabbits' victory over North Dakota State on Feb. 18. She had her streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer end at nine games in the Feb. 25 contest against IUPUI - a span in which she had shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from behind the arc.
HEISER STEPS IN: Sophomore guard Tara Heiser made her first start of the season - and second of her career - in the Summit League championship game against UMKC on March 6, replacing an injured Steph Paluch.
Heiser responded with a season-high 12 points, including a driving layup in overtime that helped the Jackrabbits to a 78-77 victory. The performance capped a strong tournament for Heiser, who came off the bench to score 10 points in the opener versus IPFW.
In three tournament games, Heiser averaged 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds, while shooting 50 percent (11-of-20) from the field.
OPENING SUCCESS: The Jackrabbits' 74-35 victory over St. Cloud State in the 2011-12 season opener at Frost Arena on Nov. 11 marked the 19th consecutive season SDSU opened with a win.
The last time the Jackrabbits lost a season opener was during the 1992-93 season, when they fell 74-72 to Moorhead State (Minn.).
NEW LOWS: The Jackrabbits' 22 points in a loss to Cincinnati on Nov. 24 was by far the lowest point total by an SDSU squad during the Division I era and the lowest with a shot clock in use. The previous low was 40 points - also in a 33-point loss - at Purdue (Ind.) on Nov. 18, 2010, in the semifinals of the Preseason Women's NIT.
Overall, the 22 points were the third fewest in a game in school history. Ironically, the Jackrabbits won both of the games in which they scored fewer points: an 18-14 decision over Buena Vista (Iowa) during the inaugural 1966-67 season and a 19-6 victory over Huron during the 1967-68 campaign.
Against Kansas State on Dec. 10, the Jackrabbits could muster a shooting percentage of only 21.6 percent - their worst shooting performance in the Division I era. SDSU missed its first 16 shots from the field and finished the first half 2-of-25 from the floor.
COACH AARON JOHNSTON: Now in his 12th full season as head coach of the South Dakota State University women's basketball team, Aaron Johnston has taken the Jackrabbit program to the top of NCAA Division II and is leading SDSU to national prominence at the Division I level.
Johnston enters Saturday's game against Purdue with a career record of 290-98 (.747 winning percentage), ranking second on the SDSU career victories list behind his predecessor, Nancy Neiber, who compiled a 301-140 record in 16 seasons from 1985-2000. Johnston posted his 200th career victory on Dec. 4, 2008, against Centenary (La.) and No. 250 on Nov. 24, 2010, versus Illinois State. His career totals have included a 75-15 record (.833 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games and a 16-7 mark (.696 winning percentage) in NCAA or WNIT postseason games. He is 0-2 against Purdue.
The Summit League Coach of the Year in each of the Jackrabbits' first two seasons in the 10-team league and again during the 2011-12 season, Johnston was named a finalist for the 2009 Naismith Award as the nation's top coach. SDSU tied a school record for victories in a season with 32 during the 2008-09 campaign and gained national attention by vaulting into the top 25 in December after non-conference victories over the likes of Wisconsin, Utah, Minnesota and Gonzaga (Wash.). The Jackrabbits were ranked in the final 13 USA Today/ESPN regular season coaches' polls, climbing as high as 14th in the coaches' poll and 16th in the Associated Press poll. SDSU finished the 2008-09 season ranked 19th in the coaches' poll.
Along the way to a 32-3 overall record, the Jackrabbits received national media coverage from CBS Sports, USA Today, ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times.
A native of Pine Island, Minn., "A.J." earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. After serving one year as an assistant coach at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, he moved on to SDSU as a graduate assistant for the Jackrabbit men's basketball team for two seasons before becoming assistant women's coach. He also coached the SDSU golf teams one year.
ACADEMIC SUCCESS: The South Dakota State women's basketball team continued to make the grade during the 2010-11 season.
For the fourth time in its six-year history at the Division I level, the Jackrabbits posted the highest grade-point average in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Academic Top 25 Honor Roll, topping the chart with a 3.666 team GPA. Overall, SDSU ranked second across all divisions of women's college basketball.
Individually, 11 Jackrabbit women's basketball players were honored on the all-Summit League Academic Team.
To be honored on the Academic All-Summit League Team, student-athletes must have a 3.0 or better grade-point average in the semester of their championship event and must use a year of eligibility. Student-athletes are recognized as a Distinguished Scholar by compiling a 3.6 GPA or higher, with nine Jackrabbit players earning that distinction.
Overall, Jackrabbit student-athletes garnered a conference-best 148 Academic All-Summit League awards during the spring semester.
In addition, eight Jackrabbits players were honored on the Commissioner's List of Academic Excellence by The Summit League. With the eight selections - 64 percent of the squad - the Jackrabbits were honored with a Team Academic Achievement Award.
In order for a student-athlete to be selected to the Commissioner's List of Academic Excellence, he or she must carry at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average, achieve sophomore academic standing at the institution, have used a year of eligibility and be on the squad list in the sport in which he or she is nominated. Transfers, graduate students and junior college graduates must have completed one academic year at the nominating institution. True freshmen, redshirt freshmen and first-year transfers are not eligible for the award.
EIDE NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN: South Dakota State guard Ashley Eide was named in February to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team, as selected by College Sports Information Directors of America.
A junior from Sioux Falls, Eide earned a spot on the honor squad with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while majoring in health, physical education and recreation. Earlier in the month, Eide was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team for the second year in a row.
Eide is the sixth Jackrabbit women's basketball player to receive Academic All-America recognition during the program's history, joining: Tara Tessier (first team, 1988); Laurie (Bruns) Kruse (second team, 1991); Jodi Bergemann (third team, 1994); Megan Vogel (second team, 2007), and Jennifer Warkenthien (second team, 2009).
THE ROSTER: The 2011-12 SDSU women's basketball roster features 13 players from two different states. Of the 13 players, seven are from Minnesota and six are from South Dakota. By class, two are seniors, four are juniors, three are sophomores, one is a redshirt freshman and three are incoming freshmen.