Jacks host No. 15 Nebraska
The South Dakota State University women's basketball team hosts a nationally ranked opponent Sunday afternoon, meeting up with 15th-ranked Nebraska in non-conference action.
Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits enter the matchup with a 1-2 record after dropping their home opener, 63-54, to Creighton on Wednesday night. SDSU fell behind early in the contest and the Bluejays answered every Jackrabbit run.
Nebraska, meanwhile, entered the week with a 3-0 record following home wins over North Carolina A&T, Temple (Pa.) Northern Arizona. Sunday's game will be the Huskers' first road contest of the season.
The Cornhuskers, who finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 24-9 record and their inaugural season in the Big Ten Conference with a 10-6 mark, return four starters. Leading the way are a pair of Wade Trophy candidates - senior guard Lindsey Moore and junior forward Jordan Hooper. Moore averaged 15.7 points per game a season ago, while Hooper tallied 18.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest.
Nebraska is one of three teams currently ranked on the Jackrabbits' non-conference schedule. SDSU is slated to play at Penn State on Dec. 16 and at Georgetown on Dec. 21. In addition, Middle Tennessee State, who the Jackrabbits host on Dec. 1, is among the top teams receiving votes in both national polls.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Audio and video coverage of Sunday's game is scheduled to be available via the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com, the official website of SDSU athletics. Monthly subscriptions for the Jackrabbit Extra, which includes live audio and video streaming of select contests are available for $11.95 per month or $99.95 for an entire year of coverage. A pay-per-view option also will be available for $4.95 per game.
Local radio coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, with Scotty Kwas calling the play-by-play. Jackrabbit Sports Network affiliates for SDSU women's basketball this season include: 104.1 FM (The Wolf) in Yankton, KBRK 93.7 FM in Brookings and KGFX 92.7 FM in Pierre.
THE SERIES: Sunday's matchup will mark the fourth meeting between South Dakota State and Nebraska in women's basketball. The Cornhuskers lead the series, which dates back to a 94-39 Nebraska victory during the 1978-79 season, by a 2-1 count.
SDSU's lone win in the series came on Nov. 19, 2005, in Lincoln. In the season opener for both teams, the Jackrabbits made 13 three-pointers en route to a 68-49 victory. Heather Sieler paced SDSU with 15 points, including three three-pointers, and added five assists and four steals. Ashlea Muckenhirn was 4-for-5 from long distance en route to 13 points and Megan Vogel canned a pair of treys as she finished the afternoon with 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds.The Jackrabbits held a 52-32 rebounding advantage.
LAST MEETING WITH NEBRASKA: The Nebraska duo of Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore combined for 57 points and 24th-ranked Cornhuskers held off a late South Dakota State rally in an 80-71 victory Dec. 21, 2011, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb.
The Cornhuskers improved to 11-1 overall, while SDSU dropped to 7-6.
After Nebraska scored the first four points of the game, the Jackrabbits responded with a 12-2 run to lead in the first four minutes of the game. Ashley Eide and Jennie Sunnarborg sparked the early run, combining for 14 of SDSU's first 16 points.
Nebraska regained the lead at 16-15, but the Jackrabbits knotted the game at 27-all on a Sunnarborg putback with 6 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the half. SDSU, which shot 54 percent (13-of-24) in each half, took a momentary 32-30 lead on a Sunnarborg steal and layup.
Lindsey Moore scored the final six points of the half for Nebraska, putting the Cornhuskers up 36-34 at intermission.
Most of the second half belonged to the Cornhuskers, who opened the stanza with an 11-4 run to take a 47-38 lead. Nebraska continued to inch ahead, taking its largest lead of the night at 59-43 with 9:54 remaining.
The Jackrabbits chipped away at the deficit with free throws and pair of baskets by Eide to get back to within nine at 66-57. SDSU had an opportunity to make it a two-possession game, but Steph Paluch missed a free throw attempt on the back end of a would-be traditional three-point play that could have trimmed the deficit to six with under two minutes to play.
Nebraska made all six free throw attempts in the final 69 seconds to seal the victory. Hooper recorded game highs of 30 points and 11 rebounds, while Moore added 27 points and six assists.
SDSU finished the game 26-of-48 from the field, including 7-of-15 from three-point range.
Nebraska was able to overcome SDSU's best shooting performance of the season by dominating the turnover, rebounding and free throw categories. The Jackrabbits turned the ball over 20 times, compared to 12 by Nebraska. The Cornhuskers also held a 39-31 advantage, including a 16-5 margin on the offensive end.
Moore led the Cornhuskers at the free throw line, making 13-of-14 attempts. As a team, Nebraska made 30-of-37 attempts, 81.1 percent, while the Jackrabbits were 12-for-21, 57.1 percent.
Eide paced SDSU offensively with 21 points, going 3-for-3 from three-point range and 9-of-14 overall from the field. Sunnarborg added 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. Sunnarborg and Leah Dietel each grabbed seven rebounds for the Jackrabbits.
VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS: Since moving to Division I at the start of the 2004-05 season, the Jackrabbits have faced 15 nationally ranked opponents. SDSU has compiled a 2-13 record against ranked opponents, dropping the last seven games - four of which have been in NCAA Tournament games (to Baylor in 2009, at Oklahoma in 2010, at Xavier (Ohio) in 2011 and at Purdue (Ind.) last season).
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.
Nebraska matches the highest ranking by a Division I team to play at Frost Arena; on Dec. 18, 2010, 15th-ranked Iowa recorded a 65-54 victory over the Jackrabbits.
OPENER STREAK ENDS: The Jackrabbits' 71-47 defeat at the hands of Villanova ended a 19-game winning streak in season openers. The last time the Jackrabbits had lost a season opener was during the 1992-93 season, when they fell 74-72 to Moorhead State (Minn.).
816 AND COUNTING: SDSU's victory over Oakland on Dec. 29, 2011, 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 816-369 (.689 winning percentage).
In addition, SDSU sealed its 26th consecutive winning season between competing at the NCAA Division II and Divsion I levels during the 2011-12 season.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 eight seasons competing at the Division I level, SDSU has compiled a 166-68 mark (.709 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 149-23 record (.866 winning percentage) at Frost Arena, including a 93-14 mark (.869 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 latest home winning streak ended at 10 games in the Nov. 14 loss to Creighton.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, SDSU has a 137-18 home record (.884 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.
SUMMIT LEAGUE SUCCESS: South Dakota State has built an impressive Summit League résumé during its tenure in the 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 South Dakota, which joined the Summit League last season, and Omaha, which is a new member during the 2012-13 season.
WAYTASHEK RETURNS: Jackrabbit forward Megan Waytashek made a successful return to the court by being named to the all-tournament team at the season-opening Best Buy Classic.
Waytashek missed most of her first two seasons in the Jackrabbit program due to knee injuries. She was granted an injury hardship this past summer, giving her three remaining years of eligibility.
A native of the Twin Cities suburb of Lino Lakes, Waytashek has scored in double figures in all three games this season, including a career-high 14 points Nov. 14 versus Creighton. At the Best Buy Classic, Waytashek tallied 10 points versus Villanova and 13 points with seven rebounds in an overtime win over Washington State.
Waytashek enters the week leading the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Senior guard Ashley Eide is on pace to make a late-season surge to the 1,000-point mark for her career.
A Sioux Falls native, Eide enters the weekend with 666 career points after scoring nine points in the Nov. 14 metting with Creighton. Eide averaged 11.5 points per game in two games at the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis. During the 2011-12 season, Eide finished third on the team with an average of 10.9 points per game.
Eide would become the 32nd player in Jackrabbit women's basketball history to accomplish the feat.
COACH AARON JOHNSTON: In his 13th 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 the 2012-13 campaign with a career record of 291-101 (.743 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 career win No. 250 against Illinois State on Nov. 24, 2010. His career totals have included a 75-15 record (.833 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games, a perfect 12-0 mark in Summit League postseason tournament contests and a 16-8 mark (.667 winning percentage) in postseason games.
The Summit League Coach of the Year in each of the Jackrabbits' first two seasons in the 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.
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 University women's basketball team continued its track record of academic success, ranking second among Division I programs in the Women's Basketball Coaches Associations Academic Top 25 with a 3.610 team grade-point average during the 2011-12 academic year.
"It was another successful year in the classroom for our program," head coach Aaron Johnston said. "Year after year we have been at or near the top of the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll. SDSU is a great institution and clearly our university has an excellent plan in place for helping students excel academically."
Wisconsin-Green Bay held the top spot among Division I programs, edging the Jackrabbits for the top spot with a 3.616 team GPA. The top three teams in the D-I rankings all played in the NCAA Tournament as DePaul (Ill.) completed the trio with a 3.604 GPA.
Across all divisions of women's college basketball, which includes NCAA Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior colleges, the Jackrabbits finished 10th overall. Drury (Mo.) led all divisions with a 3.709 team GPA, followed by Northland (Wis.) at 3.706.
In seven seasons competing at the Division I level, SDSU has finished no worse than third place in the Division I team GPA rankings. The Jackrabbits have led the nation four times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011), finished second twice (2010, 2012) and placed third once (2009). In addition, SDSU led all divisions of women's college basketball for team GPA in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Also during the 2011-12 season, Ashley Eide was selected to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team. A Sioux Falls native who is majoring in health, physical education and recreation, Eide earned a spot on the honor squad with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
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).
SISTER ACT: Two members of the 2012-13 Jackrabbit women's basketball team are following in the footsteps of older sisters - both of whom were recent additions to the SDSU 1,000-Point Club.
Sophomore guard Gabby Boever is the second from her family to play for the Jackrabbits. The Worthington, Minn., native follows her older sister, Maria, who scored 1,360 points - currently 14th - during a career that spanned the 2007-10 seasons.
Freshman guard Chloe Cornemann is expected to make her collegiate debut this weekend. Cornemann's older sister, Ketty, also lettered for the Jackrabbits from 2007-10, finishing her career 30th in scoring at SDSU with 1,042 points. Their father, Dave, was an NCAA Division II national champion wrestler for the Jackrabbits at 167 pounds in 1984.
In addition, fellow newcomer Anne Aamlid has strong Jackrabbit bloodlines - her sister, Seri, played volleyball while brother, Nik, was a member of the SDSU football team. Their father, Brian, played basketball at SDSU from 1977-81.
JACKRABBIT INSIDER: Throughout the 2012-13 women's basketball season, head coach Aaron Johnston will be a guest on the "Jackrabbit Insider," a weekly behind-the-scenes look at South Dakota State University athletics.
The half-hour television show which features interviews with Jackrabbit coaches and student-athletes, airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on Sioux Falls-based KTTW FOX 7. The show is also broadcast on FOX Sports North at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and on FOX College Sports Central (check listings). Online, the show can be viewed at GoJacks.com.
THE ROSTER: The 2011-12 SDSU women's basketball roster features 14 players from two different states. Of the 14 players, seven are from Minnesota and seven are from South Dakota. By class, four are seniors, two are juniors, six are sophomores and two are incoming freshmen.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits head to the road for a pair of games against Mid-American Conference opponents sandwiched around the Thanksgiving holiday. SDSU opens its road trip on Wednesday (Nov. 21) with a 7 p.m. matchup at Northern Illinois.
The road trip concludes Friday (Nov. 23), when the Jackrabbits square off against Central Michigan. Tipoff for Friday's game is set for 7 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Central) in Mount Pleasant, Mich.