Storied Rivalry Takes Stage
With its fifth regular-season title won and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Summit League Championship secured, the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team (21-8, 12-1) is playing for state bragging rights Sunday when it travels to South Dakota (16-12, 7-6) to take on the Coyotes at 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome.
The league-leading Jackrabbits enter the South Dakota Showdown Series game in Vermillion on a modest four-game winning streak after knocking off Denver, 69-55, in Colorado Thursday. The Jacks made a season-high 12 three-pointers and four Jackrabbits scored in double figures in the win.
Down 19 points vs. North Dakota State Thursday, South Dakota rallied to beat the Bison, 95-87 in overtime. Senior Polly Harrington had 23 points and sophomore Tia Hemiller posted a double-double. The Coyotes are tied with Fort Wayne for third in the Summit League standings.
SDSU is ranked 12th in the latest CollegeInsider Mid-Major poll, moving up three spots from last week.
TRACKING THE JACKRABBITS
Radio - Audio coverage via the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com with play-by-play commentator J.J. Hartigan.
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KORN 1490 AM - Mitchell
WNAX 104.1 FM - Yankton
KGFX 92.7 FM – Pierre
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SETTING THE SCENE
-South Dakota State secured the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Summit League Championship and its fifth regular-season title with a win Thursday in Denver. The Jackrabbits are the No. 1 seed in the league tournament for the third consecutive year and fourth time since 2008-09.
-With their win Feb. 22, the Jacks recorded their 17th 20-win season since the program began in 1966-67 and their eighth 20-plus win season since turning Division I in 2004-05. Additionally, the Jacks have won 10-or-more Summit League games in seven consecutive seasons.
-The Jackrabbits will be protecting a modest four-game win streak and playing for their seventh road win of the season Sunday. They are 6-6 overall and 5-1 on the road this season. The Jacks’ last loss on the road this season was at IUPUI Feb. 8.
-South Dakota State is 44-12 all-time (.785 winning percentage) on the road in Summit League contests.
-SDSU will be looking for its sixth series sweep of the season Sunday. The Jackrabbits won the first meeting vs. South Dakota, 88-69, Feb. 2. Since then, the Jacks have won six of their last seven games and the Coyotes are 5-2.
-The Jackrabbits are 15-12 vs. South Dakota on the road.
-South Dakota is 12-1 at home, including 5-1 in league play, this season. Its only home loss was to Western Illinois, 81-71, Jan. 23.
-SDSU enters the contest averaging 74.3 points per game in league contests while limiting its opponents to 63.8 points per game. The Coyotes average 76.9 points in Summit League games, and give up 75.6 points per outing.
A QUICK GLANCE AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
-Head coach Aaron Johnston’s probable starters vs. South Dakota are senior Hannah Strop (4.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg), junior forward Mariah Clarin (8.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg), junior guards Megan Waytashek (11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Gabrielle Boever (6.1 ppg, 2.5 apg) and senior guard Steph Paluch (9.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg). The lineup sports an 18-7 record.
-Waytashek has scored in double figures in 16 of 29 games, and eight other Jacks have posted double-digit scoring games. Waytashek, Paluch, junior Megan Stuart and freshman Kerri Young have SDSU’s only 20-plus point games this season. Waytashek registered the Jacks’ third double-double of the season with 23 points and 13 rebounds at Western Illinois Jan.16. Clarin recorded the team’s first two double-doubles.
-SDSU is shooting 40.7 percent from the field, 32.6 percent from three-point range and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line. The Jacks are also averaging 69.7 points per game and limiting opponents to 65.3 points per outing.
-The Jacks have a deep squad with nine players averaging at least 13 minutes per game. Their bench averages 29.5 points per outing this season.
-South Dakota is 16-12 overall and 7-6 in Summit League play. They are 12-1 overall and 5-1 in league play at home this season. USD has won four of its last five games, including a 95-87 overtime win vs. North Dakota State Thursday. Senior Polly Harrington had 23 points, junior Tia Hemiller posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and junior Nicole Seekamp and sophomore Margaret McCloud added 16 points each.
-The Coyotes are tied with Fort Wayne for third in the Summit League standings.
-South Dakota has three players averaging double figures in scoring. Seekamp leads the team in scoring (14.8). Junior guard Raeshel Contreras and Harrington are scoring 12.9 and 12 points per game, respectively.
-Hemiller grabs a team-high 6.6 rebounds and dishes a team-best 3.5 assists per game.
-The Coyotes are shooting 41.8 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range and 74.2 percent from the free-throw line.
-In Summit League games, USD leads in scoring offense (76.9) and offensive rebounds (15.2) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (34.3), rebounding offense (40.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).
SOUTH DAKOTA SERIES
-Sunday’s game marks the 75th meeting in women’s basketball, dating to a 35-26 Jackrabbit victory during the 1966-67 season - SDSU’s first season as a varsity program.
-Overall, the Jackrabbits hold a 52-22 series advantage, winning 33 of the last 36 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 in 2012 as the two squads split the series in their first year together as members of The Summit League.
-The Jackrabbits currently have a four-game winning streak after sweeping the regular-season series and beating the Coyotes in The Summit League Championship game last year, and winning the first game this season, 88-69, Feb. 1 in Frost Arena.
-Junior Megan Waytashek averages 16 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in her four games vs. South Dakota. Classmate Gabby Boever averages 8.2 points and 2.3 steals per game in her six meetings with the Coyotes. She is shooting 54 percent (20 of 37) from the floor, including 50 percent from beyond the arc (8 of 16).