State bragging rights and sole possession of an early lead in The Summit League will be on the line Sunday afternoon as South Dakota State University hosts the University of South Dakota in women's basketball action.
Tipoff for the South Dakota Showdown Series game presented by South Dakota Corn is slated for 2 p.m. at Frost Arena. The game is scheduled to be televised regionally on Midco Sports Net.
Now in the second week of league play, the in-state rivals enter the weekend as the only two remaining undefeated teams in The Summit League.
The Jackrabbits opened their league slate with a 76-57 home victory over North Dakota State on Dec. 30, followed by an 82-47 trouncing of Kansas City on Jan. 3. Currently riding a season-best four-game winning streak, SDSU is 10-5 overall.
USD, meanwhile, followed suit with a 62-57 home victory over Summit League newcomer Omaha on Dec. 30, followed by a 73-52 win at North Dakota State on Thursday. The Coyotes are 7-8 on the season.
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.
Local radio coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. Central Time on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, with J.J. Hartigan calling the play-by-play. Jackrabbit Sports Network affiliates for SDSU women's basketball this season include: 104.1 FM (The Wolf) in Yankton, KJJQ 910 AM in Brookings, and Pierre-based KGFX 1060 AM, KORN 1490 AM in Mitchell and KSDR 1480 AM in Watertown.
THE SERIES: Sunday's game will mark the 71st meeting in women's basketball between South Dakota State and USD, dating back to a 35-26 Jackrabbit victory during the 1966-67 season - SDSU's first season as a varsity program.
Overall, the Jackrabbits hold a 48-22 series advantage, winning 29 of the last 32 meetings. SDSU won the first 14 games in the series before the Coyotes won 19 of 24 matchups between the 1977-78 and 1990-91 seasons. The Jackrabbits followed with 21 consecutive victories to start their recent run of success.
SDSU had won six meetings in a row starting with an 87-63 victory in the championship game of the 2003 NCAA Division II North Central Regional at Frost Arena. However, that streak came to an end last season as the two squads split the series in their first year together as members of The Summit League.
In the first meeting, Jan. 16, 2012, at Frost Arena, Jill Young scored seven straight points in the waning moments of the game, helping SDSU hold off the Coyotes, 59-51.
Young was the lone Jackrabbit in double figures with 11. Ashley Eide tallied nine points as part of a balanced offensive attack that included a 21-0 Jackrabbit advantage in bench points. Reserves Katie Lingle and Hannah Strop each scored six points, with Strop hitting a pair of three-pointers in the second half.
For USD, Amber Hegge finished with game highs of 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Tempestt Wilson ended the night with 19 points.
In the rematch, Feb. 13 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, it was the Coyotes who executed down the stretch. USD scored the final nine points of regulation to force overtime and carried the momentum through the extra session for a 59-53 victory.
Hegge scored a game-high 28 points as the only Coyote player in double figures. USD made 21-of-55 field goal attempts, 38.2 percent, including 6-of-16 from three-point range. At the line, the Coyotes made 11-of-16 attempts for 68.8 percent.
SDSU's inability to get to the free throw line against the top-ranked scoring defense in The Summit League contributed to the Jackrabbits' demise. The Jackrabbits were only
1-of-4 at the charity stripe, while going 22-of-60 from the floor, 36.7 percent. SDSU was 8-of-23 on three-point attempts.
Young was the lone Jackrabbit to reach double figures in scoring, with 10. Steph Paluch, Eide and Jennie Sunnarborg each scored eight points.
SHOWDOWN SERIES: South Dakota Corn Utilization officials announced in early November 2012 that the organization will serve as title sponsor of the South Dakota Showdown Series, a new, year-long collegiate athletics and academic competition between South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota.
The South Dakota Showdown Series, presented by South Dakota Corn, operates on a point system in which each school can earn a maximum of 24 points per year based on head-to-head competition and Summit League Championship finishes between the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits and the University of South Dakota Coyotes in a total of 17 men's and women's sports. There is an academic component as well, and the university compiling the most points by the end of the school year will earn bragging rights to the specially designed traveling trophy.
The inaugural competition is under way now, with points already accumulating for the 2012-2013 school year. Heading into this weekend, SDSU holds a 4-3 lead on the strength of wins in women's soccer, men's cross country and football. USD held the upper hand in volleyball and women's cross country during the fall season.
In addition to focusing on the points earned by both schools respectively, promoting values of good sportsmanship will be strongly emphasized among SDSU and USD fans.
Complementing the competition aspect, SDSU, USD and South Dakota Corn have designated Feeding South Dakota as the non-profit organization to benefit from the rivalry series' launch. As the state's primary hunger relief operation, Feeding South Dakota feeds thousands of people every year and provided 10.1 million meals to individuals in need in 2011. It was imperative to both schools and South Dakota Corn that Feeding South Dakota benefits, and concessionaire Aramark is ensuring that happens as fans attending Showdown Series' head-to-head athletic events are encouraged to make a monetary donation for Feeding South Dakota while making their concession purchases.
Spearheading this initiative with the schools and South Dakota Corn are Jackrabbit Sports Properties and Coyote Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holders for SDSU Athletics and USD Athletics, respectively. Both are
properties of Learfield Sports, which manages multimedia rights for more than 50 universities.
EIDE HONORED: South Dakota State University guard Ashley Eide was named Summit League Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 24 after leading the Jackrabbits to a pair of victories.
A senior from Sioux Falls, Eide averaged 26 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals in wins over Delaware State and Georgetown. In the Dec. 18 home matchup with Delaware State, Eide tallied 25 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. At Georgetown on Dec. 21, Eide tied a career high with 27 points and established new career highs with seven three-pointers and 13 rebounds.
In the two games combined, Eide was 17-of-27 from the field, 63 percent, including 9-for-17 from three-point range. She was 9-for-9 at the free throw line in the win over Delaware State. For the season, Eide is averaging a team-best 15.3 points per game and leads the squad with 32 three-pointers.
She also was named Mid-Major Women's Basketball Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com.
Eide was the second Jackrabbit player during the month of December to earn the weekly Summit award. Forward Megan Waytashek shared the honor on Dec. 10 after leading the Jackrabbits to victories over a pair of postseason-qualifying teams from a year ago - Eastern Michigan and Northern Iowa.
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 SDSU had lost a season opener was during the 1992-93 season, when it fell 74-72 to Moorhead State (Minn.).
825 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 825-371 (.690 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.
175 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-plus seasons competing at the Division I level, SDSU has compiled a 175-71 mark (.711 winning percentage) versus D-I opposition. The Jackrabbits have posted victories over 57 different Division I teams representing 21 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, Aaron Johnston has led the Jackrabbits to a 156-24 record (.867 winning percentage) at Frost Arena, including a 99-15 mark (.868 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. SDSU had a 10-game home winning streak end in a Nov. 14 loss to Creighton, but has since won its last five home contests.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, SDSU has a 145-19 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.
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 77-15 record (.837 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 42-5 at home (.894 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 sophomore from Lino Lakes, Minn., Waytashek has scored in double figures in 11 of 15 games this season, with a pair of double-doubles. At the Best Buy Classic, Waytashek tallied 10 points versus Villanova and 13 points with seven rebounds in an overtime win over Washington State.
In earning co-Summit League Player of the Week honors on Dec. 10, Waytashek averaged 20 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals per game in wins over Eastern Michigan and Northern Iowa. She opened the week by tying a then-career high with 17 points, including the game-winning basket, against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 4. She then scored a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting Dec. 8 at Northern Iowa, including 3-for-3 on three-point attempts.
For the week, she shot 51 percent (14-of-23) from the field, 62 percent (5-of-8) on three-pointers and 70 percent (7-of-10) at the free throw line.
Waytashek enters the weekend second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game. She also ranks second with 25 three-pointers, third in rebounds (63/4.2 rpg) and fourth in steals (20).
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Senior guard Ashley Eide is on pace to join the Jackrabbit 1,000-Point Club this season.
A Sioux Falls native, Eide enters the weekend with 857 career points after reaching
double figures for the sixth consecutive game by scoring a game-high 20 points Dec. 30 against North Dakota State. It marked the fifth time this season she has topped 20 points in a game. A game earlier, Dec. 21 at Georgetown, Eide tied her career high with 27 points and made a career-best seven three-pointers in the contest as the Jackrabbits defeated a BIG EAST opponent for the first time.
Eide started her string of double-figure games by scoring 15 points — all on three-point field goals —Dec. 4 against Eastern Michigan and added 15 more points in the Dec. 8 win at Northern Iowa.
She had a streak of three consecutive games with at least 20 points, starting with a 25-point night against Delaware State on Dec. 18. Eide also tallied 26 points in the Jackrabbits' Nov. 18 upset win over nationally ranked Nebraska and scored 21 in an overtime loss to Marquette (Wis.) on Nov. 28.
Eide currently ranks leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game and also paces the team with 34 three-pointers. In the most recent NCAA statistics, she ranks 12th among Division I players this season for three-point shooting at 45.9 percent (34-for-74).
During the 2011-12 season, during which she earned second-team all-Summit League honors, Eide finished third on the team with an average of 10.9 points per game. She become the 32nd player in Jackrabbit women's basketball history to score 1,000 points.
SENIOR LEADER: Senior center Katie Lingle has given the Jackrabbits a big boost both off the bench and as a member of the starting lineup during the 2012-13 season. The Pierre native ranks third on the team in scoring with an average of 7.4 points per game and fourth in rebounding at 4.2 rebounds per contest.
Lingle returned to the Jackrabbit lineup last weekend after sitting out the Dec. 21 game at Georgetown, scoring one point in the SDSU victory over North Dakota State on Dec. 30. She suffered a head injury that required stitches in the Dec. 18 matchup against Delaware State. Lingle scored five points and recorded two steals and a rebound before leaving late in the first half.
Lingle began the season on the bench, but started three games beginning with a Nov. 28 matchup against Marquette, when she scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds.
She returned to a reserve role Dec. 8 at Northern Iowa, but responded by matching her season high with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field to go along with seven boards.
Lingle also scored 12 points in an overtime victory over Washington State on Nov. 11, then turned in a pair of strong performances to open the home season. She tallied nine points and nine rebounds Nov. 14 versus Creighton, then added nine points and eight rebounds in the upset win over Nebraska on Nov. 18. Lingle also blocked three shots in each contest.
DIETEL ON THE BOARDS: Senior forward Leah Dietel has been a strong presence on the glass during the first quarter of the 2012-13 season. The Jordan, Minn., native tied a career high with 10 rebounds in the Nov. 18 upset of nationally ranked Nebraska and matched that exactly a month later in a home win over Delaware State - a game in which she also scored a career-high 16 points.
Dietel has tallied at least five rebounds in 10 of the last 14 games. She currently leads the team with an average of 5.9 rebounds per game.
BOMBS AWAY: Sophomore wing Rachel Walters has developed into a three-point specialist for the Jackrabbit women's basketball team.
In her two seasons at SDSU, 111 of Walters' 118 shot attempts have been from three-point range. During the 2012-13 season, all but one of her 39 shot attempts have come from long range.
Walters matched a career high with 12 points - all on three-pointers - in a Nov. 23 loss at Central Michigan. Her previous 12-point outing also came in the state of Michigan as she drained four three-pointers in a win at Oakland during her freshman season.
STROP SETTLES IN: Junior forward Hannah Strop has made a successful transition to the Jackrabbit starting lineup in recent weeks.
A native of New Prague, Minn., Strop earned her first career start at Northern Iowa on Dec. 8. Although she did not score, Strop matched her career high with six rebounds - a total she again equaled Dec. 18 against Delaware State.
On Dec. 30 against North Dakota State, Strop connected on 3-of-4 three-point attempts en route to a season-high nine points She also grabbed five rebounds and
contributed a steal and blocked shot.
Strop again made a trio of three-pointers Jan. 3 against Kansas City, equaling her season high with of nine points.
In her six starts, she is averaging 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from three-point range.
CLEANING THE GLASS: After being out-rebounded in back-to-back games losses to Central Michigan and Marquette (Wis.), the Jackrabbits returned to their winning ways thanks to a strong effort on the boards Dec. 1 against Middle Tennessee. SDSU held a season-best 17-rebound advantage, 48-31, as Megan Waytashek led the effort with 10 rebounds. All 11 SDSU players to see action in the game tallied at least one board.
The Jackrabbits turned in another strong rebounding performance in their Dec. 8 win at Northern Iowa, holding a 42-27 advantage. Sophomore guard Gabby Boever led SDSU with a career-high eight rebounds and junior forward Hannah Strop tied a career high with six rebounds as she made her first career start.
SDSU posted its best rebounding effort of the season Jan. 3 in an 82-47 victory over Kansas City. The Jackrabbits ended the night with a 44-17 (plus-27) advantage in total rebounds, including a 19-3 edge on the offensive glass. SDSU converted the 19 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points, compared to four by the Kangaroos.
For the season, the Jackrabbits have out-rebounded the opposition in nine games and have been tied twice in 15 contests.
DOUBLE DUTY: The Jackrabbit women's basketball team has received double-double performances from three different players this season, including two by sophomore forward Megan Waytashek.
Waytashek posted the team's first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in a Dec. 1 home victory over Middle Tennessee. Her second double-double was a 15-point, 11-rebound outing Jan. 3 against Kansas City. Waytashek's 11 boards were a career high.
Ashley Eide's 27-point, 13-rebound performance Dec. 21 at Georgetown marked season highs by an SDSU player in both categories during the 2012-13 campaign.
Leah Dietel turned in a double-double performance Dec. 18 against Delware State, scoring a career-high 16 points while tying a career best with 10 rebounds.
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, who coached his 400th career game Dec. 16 at Penn State, enters the weekend with a career record of 300-104 (.742 winning percentage). He ranks second on the SDSU career victories list - only one away from tying 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.), earned his 250th victory versus Illinois State on Nov. 24, 2010, and logged career win No. 300 against Kansas City on Jan. 3, 2013. His career totals have included a 77-15 record (.837 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games, putting him at the top of the league's career winning percentage charts.Johnston also has led the Jackrabbits to 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 by the coaches.
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 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 at 3.604.
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. 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).
PALUCH TO REDSHIRT: Senior guard Steph Paluch is expected to redshirt during the 2012-13 season, head coach Aaron Johnston announced in late November.
A Pierre native, Paluch started the first 31 games of the 2011-12 season before suffering a knee injury in the semifinals of the Summit League postseason tournament. Playing both the point and off-guard positions, Paluch led the team with 78 assists and 44 steals a season ago. She also averaged 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
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 2012-13 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 will play their first road Summit League games of the season, starting with a Jan. 10 matchup at Oakland. Start time is 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time (5:30 p.m. Central) at the Athletics Center O'rena on the Oakland campus in Rochester, Mich.