Jacks Ring in New Year at No. 2 Notre Dame
The South Dakota State women’s basketball team (9-6) finishes its nonconference schedule when it travels to Notre Dame, Ind., to take on the No. 2/2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-0) Thursday.
The Jackrabbits need to return to the win column after a 66-45 loss at UALR Dec. 29 in Little Rock, Ark.
The Fighting Irish enter Thursday’s game on an 11-game winning streak after knocking off Oregon State, 70-58, Dec. 29.
South Dakota State is ranked 17th in the latest CollegeInsider Mid-Major poll while Notre Dame is ranked second in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Sports/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Polls.
TRACKING THE JACKRABBITS
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-South Dakota State concludes a three-game road swing Thursday. The Jackrabbits are 1-4 on the road this season.
-SDSU meets its third ranked opponent of the season. The Jacks are 1-1 vs. ranked teams, beating then-No. 12/12 Penn State, 83-79, Dec. 11 and losing to then-No. 5/6 Stanford, 80-60, Nov. 28. Notre Dame is the highest ranked foe South Dakota State has played in the program’s 47-year history.
-The Jackrabbits are playing their 43rd game in the Hoosier state and their first in South Bend.
-SDSU enters the contest looking to score more points than it did in its previous five road games. The Jacks average 54.2 points on the road while the Fighting Irish score at a 94 clip in the Purcell Pavilion.
-Notre Dame is 6-0 on its home court and has the country’s fifth-longest home winning streak, winning its last 17 home games.
-The Fighting Irish take pride in their defense, allowing opponents just 59.8 points per game. Only two foes have scored more than 70 points this season.
-South Dakota State and Notre Dame have one common foe this season thus far, with both teams beating Central Michigan in December.
A Quick Glance at South Dakota State
-Head coach Aaron Johnston’s probable starters vs. Notre Dame are senior Hannah Strop (3.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), junior forward Mariah Clarin (8.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg), junior guards Megan Waytashek (12.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg), Gabrielle Boever (5.6 ppg, 3.0 apg) and senior guard Steph Paluch (9.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg). The lineup sports a 8-6 record.
-Waytashek has scored in double figures in 10 of 15 games, and seven other Jacks have posted double-digit scoring games. Waytashek, junior Megan Stuart and freshman Kerri Young have SDSU’s only 20-plus point games this season. Clarin recorded the Jacks’ second double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds at Wis.-Green Bay Dec. 7.
-SDSU is shooting 40.2 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from three-point range and 70.7 percent from the free-throw line. The Jacks are also averaging 67.3 points per game and limiting opponents to 65.3 points per game.
-The Jacks have a deep squad with 10 players averaging at least 13 minutes per game. Their bench averages 28.5 points per outing this season.
-Notre Dame is off to its third-best start all-time, sporting an 11-0 on the season after winning at Oregon State Dec. 29.
-The Fighting Irish are ranked No. 2 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Sports/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Polls.
-The Atlantic Coast Conference coaches selected Notre Dame second, behind Duke, in their annual preseason poll. Senior forward Natalie Achonwa, senior guard Kayla McBride and sophomore guard Jewell Loyd were named the Preseason All-ACC team.
-The trio is also on the Wade Trophy and Naismith Trophy Watch Lists while McBride picked up AP Preseason All-America honors.
-The Irish have four players averaging double figures in scoring. Loyd leads the team in scoring (17.7) while McBride averages 14.9 points, Achonwa 12.9 points and Michaela Mabrey 10.5.
-Achonwa grabs a team-high 7.6 rebounds for Notre Dame, and Lindsay Allen dishes 3.9 assists per game.
-Notre Dame is shooting 51.2 percent from the field, 43.7 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.
-The Irish return four starters, nine letterwinners, and adds four freshmen.
Notre Dame Series
-Thurday’s game will be the first meeting between SDSU and Notre Dame.
-The Jackrabbits have a 35-7 record vs. teams from the Hoosier State and a 1-2 record vs. ACC teams.
-The last time SDSU beat an ACC team was Nov. 24, 2006, when it beat Virginia, 62-55, in the Bahamas at the Junkanoo Jam.