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Streak Stays Alive: Jacks in Postseason Again

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 03/19/2014 08:59:46

             Only three Division I women's basketball teams will end their season with a win. South Dakota State begins its quest to be one of those teams when it hosts Butler University in the 17th annual Women’s NIT Thursday at 7 p.m. in the friendly confines of Frost Arena.

            The Jackrabbits, regular season champions of The Summit League with a 13-1 mark, enter the matchup with a 22-9 overall record. SDSU enters the 64-team single-elimination WNIT as winners in five of its last six games and is 13-2 in its last 15 outings.

            South Dakota State hasn’t played since losing to in-state rival and Summit League Championship champion South Dakota, 72-58, in The Summit League semifinals March 10.

            Butler finished the regular season with a 15-14 overall record. They moved to .500 after taking a loss to Creighton in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, 61-52. The Bulldogs have played in five of the last six WNITs.

            The winner of Thursday’s game faces the winner of the Creighton vs. Missouri game in the WNIT’s second round March 22-25. Location and time is yet to be determined. The WNIT Championship is April 5 at 2:30 p.m. CT on the CBS Sports Network.

TRACKING THE JACKRABBITS

Live Radio - Audio coverage via the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com with play-by-play commentator Tyler Merriam and former Jackrabbit Jill Sargent with the color commentary.

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POSTSEASON HISTORY

-The Jackrabbit women’s basketball team will be making its eighth consecutive Division I postseason appearance by accepting its third Women’s NIT invitation. SDSU qualified for the Women’s NIT in 2007 and 2008 while completing its transition to Division I.

-SDSU is 3-7 in Division I postseason games, including 2-2 in the WNIT.

-Following is a look at SDSU’s postseason experience at the Division I level:

2007-Women’s NIT

• First Round: Bye

• Second Round: SDSU 61, Illinois State 48

            at Brookings, S.D.

• Third Round: SDSU 60, Indiana 53

            at Brookings, S.D.

• Quarterfinals: Wyoming 70, SDSU 59

            at Laramie, Wyo.

2008-Women’s NIT

• First Round: Creighton 76, SDSU 69

            at Brookings, S.D.

2009-NCAA Tournament (No. 7 Seed)

• First Round: SDSU 90, Texas Christian 55

• Second Round: Baylor 60, SDSU 58

2010-NCAA Tournament (No. 14 Seed)

• First Round: Oklahoma 68, SDSU 57

2011-NCAA Tournament (No. 15 Seed)

• First Round: Xavier 72, SDSU 56

2012-NCAA Tournament (No. 13 Seed)

• First Round: Purdue 83, SDSU 68

2013-NCAA Tournament (No. 13 Seed)

• First Round: South Carolina 74, SDSU 52

-SDSU also had a rich tradition of women’s basketball in NCAA Division II, making nine postseason appearances, including three consecutive Elite Eight appearances (2002, 2003, 2004) to close its run at that level. The Jackrabbits won the 2003 NCAA Division II national championship, defeating Northern Kentucky, 65-50, in St. Joseph, Mo.

SETTING THE SCENE

-South Dakota State makes its third appearance in the Women’s NIT and eighth-straight Division I postseason appearance.

-The Jackrabbits sport a 14-0 record in the friendly confines of Frost Arena this year and own a 17-game regular-season home win streak that ranks seventh in the NCAA. The last time they lost in Frost was Jan. 19, 2013, to IUPUI.

-South Dakota State is 2-1 in the WNIT in Frost Arena.

-SDSU is ranked 12th in the latest CollegeInsider Mid-Major poll.

-Thursday’s contest is the 200th game at Frost Arena under head coach Aaron Johnston.

WNIT FIELD

-Seven of the top-50 teams in the country are in the 64-team field. Additionally, 35 have at least 20 wins and 10 won league titles.

-Two of SDSU’s 2013-14 opponents—Creighton and IUPUI—are on the Jackrabbits’ side of the bracket.

-South Dakota State could also see the likes of Minnesota, Northwestern, Indiana from the Big Ten, Marquette from the Big East, or Missouri of the SEC.

A QUICK GLANCE AT SOUTH DKOTA STATE

-Head coach Aaron Johnston’s probable starters vs. Butler are senior Hannah Strop (3.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg), junior forward Mariah Clarin (8.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), junior guards Megan Waytashek (11.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Gabrielle Boever (6.3 ppg, 2.5 apg) and senior guard Steph Paluch (10.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg). The lineup sports a 19-8 record.

-Waytashek has scored in double figures in 18 of 31 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 73.9 percent from the free-throw line. The Jacks are also averaging 70.3 points per game and limiting opponents to 66.3 points per outing.

-The Jacks have a deep squad with nine players averaging at least 13 minutes per game. Their bench averages 29.3 points per outing this season.

BUTLER

-Butler advanced to the Women’s NIT after posting a 15-15 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the Big East.

-The Bulldogs have played in five of the last six WNIT tournament. Last season, they lost at Toledo, 63-49.

-Junior center Liz Stratman was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year while senior guard/forward Daress McClung picked up second team All-Big East honors.

-Butler has three players averaging double figures in scoring. McClung leads the team in scoring (15.8) while Stratman and junior guard Taylor Schippers average 13.0 and 10.5 points per game, respectively.

-McClung and Stratman both grab a team-high 6.6 rebounds for Butler, and sophomore guard Lexus Murry dishes a team-high 2.9 assists per game.

-The Bulldogs are shooting 41.1 percent from the field, 32.3 percent from three-point range and 71.9 percent from the free-throw line.

BUTLER SERIES

-Thursday’s game will be the first meeting between SDSU and Butler in women’s basketball action.

-The Jackrabbits are 1-1 vs. teams from the Big East in 2013-14, losing at Creighton, 68-63, Nov. 12 but beating Georgetown, 86-80, Nov. 15.

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