Jacks finalize 2013-14 schedule
Throughout its rise in the Division I ranks, the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team has played a challenging schedule. The Jackrabbits’ slate of games for the upcoming 2013-14 season may be their most challenging yet as half of the team’s 30 regular season games will be against teams that played in the postseason a year ago, highlighted by seven contests versus fellow NCAA Tournament qualifiers — including two No. 1 seeds.
SDSU opens the season Nov. 8 at Brigham Young — one of five Women’s NIT participants from a year ago. That contest is followed by a Nov. 12 matchup at Creighton (Neb.) on Nov. 12.
The Jackrabbits’ home opener is slated for Nov. 15, when SDSU hosts Georgetown at Frost Arena. That matchup marks the beginning of a three-game homestand that includes games against WNIT qualifier Northern Iowa on Nov. 17 and Pepperdine (Calif.) on Nov. 21.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Jackrabbits are scheduled to travel to Mexico and play three games in the Puerto Vallarta Hardwood Tournament of Hope. SDSU meets Texas Christian in the tournament opener on Nov. 27, followed by games against Stanford (Calif.) on Nov. 28 and Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 29. Stanford was a top seed in the NCAA Tournament last season, while Florida Gulf Coast played in the WNIT.
The month of December features four games against fellow NCAA Tournament qualifiers, starting with a Dec. 7 contest at Wisconsin-Green Bay. The Jackrabbits return to Frost Arena for games against Penn State on Dec. 11 and Central Michigan on Dec. 15 as part of a three-game homestand.
Other non-conference home games include a Dec. 2 matchup with NJIT and a Dec. 17 matchup with Northern Illinois.
The Jackrabbits continue their rivalry with Middle Tennessee State with a Dec. 21 road game before closing out the calendar year Dec. 29 at WNIT qualifier Arkansas-Little Rock.
SDSU wraps up the non-conference portion of its schedule Jan. 2 with a date at Notre Dame (Ind.). The Fighting Irish were a No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Final Four.
Summit League play begins Jan. 9, when the Jackrabbits host league runner-up and WNIT qualifier IUPUI. That game will mark the first of 14 Summit League contests, which includes a Jan. 11 matchup with Fort Wayne to close out the first league homestand of the season.
Summit League newcomer Denver (Colo.) visits Frost Arena on Jan. 30, followed by a Feb. 2 contest against in-state rival and Women’s Basketball Invitational semifinalist South Dakota. The Jackrabbits and Coyotes battled in the Summit League Championship finale last season and will close out the 2013-14 regular season on March 1.
The remainder of the Jackrabbits' 14-game home schedule consists of games against Omaha (Feb. 13), Western Illinois (Feb. 15) and North Dakota State (Feb. 22).
The Jackrabbits also will host a pair of exhibition games against NCAA Division II opponents Bemidji State (Minn.) and Minnesota State, Mankato, on Oct. 27 and Nov. 1, respectively, to tip off the season.
South Dakota State, coached by Aaron Johnston, finished the 2012-13 season with a 25-8 overall record, including a 14-2 mark in Summit League play. The Jackrabbits won both the Summit League regular season and postseason tournament titles, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season.