Big Weekend For the Jacks Starts Thursday
The South Dakota State women’s basketball team (16-7, 7-0) continues the all-important road schedule in the month of February, as the Jackrabbits travel to the Hoosier State to play the Fort Wayne Mastodons (11-10, 4-3) in Fort Wayne, Ind., Thursday at 6 p.m. Central time.
Thursday’s game marks the beginning of the second half of the grueling Summit League slate, as the Jacks bring a seven-game winning streak and an undefeated Summit League record to Fort Wayne.
SDSU finished the first part of league play with a dominating 88-69 win over in-state rival South Dakota Feb. 2. Junior Megan Waytashek registered her third 20-plus point game of the season with a game-high 20 points.
The Mastodons, currently in third place in the league, enter Thursday’s game on a losing note after being upset by Western Illinois, 68-65, Feb. 1 in Macomb, Ill.
SDSU is ranked 15th in the latest CollegeInsider Mid-Major poll, its highest ranking since ranking 15th Dec. 7, 2013.
TRACKING THE JACKRABBITS
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- South Dakota State and Fort Wayne meet for the second time this season. The Jackrabbits won the first meeting 77-60 in Brookings Jan. 11. Since then, the Jacks have won five-straight games while the ‘Dons have gone 3-2.
-SDSU is off to its best start in The Summit League with a 7-0 mark. A win Thursday would tie the 2013-14 Jacks with the 2002-03 Jacks for the best start in a conference schedule. The 2002-03 NCAA Division II national champion SDSU team opened the North Central Conference schedule 8-0. The Jacks faltered at the University of North Dakota, 86-62, Feb. 6, 2003.
-The Jackrabbits are 4-5 overall and 3-0 in league play on the road. Their last loss on the road this season was at No. 2/2 Notre Dame Jan. 2.
-South Dakota State is 39-11 all-time (.780 winning percentage) on the road in Summit League contests. The last time it lost a league road game was at IUPUI Feb. 14, 2013.
-The Jackrabbits are 9-0 vs. the Mastodons on the road.
-Fort Wayne is 6-2 at home this season and have a modest two-game winning streak after beating South Dakota and Denver at home in January.
-SDSU enters the contest averaging 74.3 points per game in league contests while limiting its opponents to 61.7 points per game. The Mastodons average a league-leading 78.4 points in Summit League games, and give up 75.9 points per outing.
A QUICK GLANCE AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
-Head coach Aaron Johnston’s probable starters vs. Fort Wayne are senior Hannah Strop (3.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg), junior forward Mariah Clarin (7.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg), junior guards Megan Waytashek (11.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Gabrielle Boever (6.1 ppg, 2.6 apg) and senior guard Steph Paluch (9.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg). The lineup sports a 14-6 record.
-Waytashek has scored in double figures in 14 of 23 games, and seven 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, 32.4 percent from three-point range and 71.7 percent from the free-throw line. The Jacks are also averaging 68.7 points per game and limiting opponents to 65.5 points per game.
-The Jacks have a deep squad with eight players averaging at least 13 minutes per game. Their bench averages 29 points per outing this season.
-Fort Wayne (11-10, 4-3) has gone 3-2 since losing to South Dakota State, 77-60 Jan. 11, in the first meeting between the two teams. SDSU has swept the series the last two seasons and collected four wins in the last four Summit League Tournaments.
-Fort Wayne is 6-2 at home, including 2-0 in Summit League play.
-In their last outing, the Mastodons were upset by Western Illinois, 68-65, in Macomb, Ill. Feb. 1.
-The Mastodons currently sit in third in the Summit League standings two games behind IUPUI and three behind SDSU.
-Summit League Preseason Player of the Year guard/forward Amanda Hyde is second in the league in scoring, averaging 21.7 points per game. The senior also ranks third free throw percentage (.885) and fourth in assists (4.7). Hyde leads the ‘Dons in rebounding (4.9).
-Junior Haley Seibert leads the Summit League in scoring (23.1) and three-pointers (4.1), and is second in three-point field goal percentage (.547). Overall, she averages 15.8 points per game and has 61 treys.
-The Mastodons are shooting 46.2 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 77.7 percent from the free-throw line.
-Fort Wayne leads the league in scoring (78.4), free throw percentage (.852), three-pointers (10.6), three-point field goal defense (.263) and turnover margin (+3.2) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (38.1).
-The Mastodons have made a three-point field goal in 456 straight contests, a stretch that ranks as the third-longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
FORT WAYNE SERIES
-Sunday’s game marks the 23rd meeting between SDSU and Fort Wayne in women’s basketball.
-The Jacks who lead the series 21-1 and won the first 12 games, hold the series lead in Summit League games, 5-1 and have an eight-game winning streak entering Thursday’s match-up. The Mastodons’ lone win was a 70-67 overtime victory Jan. 22, 2011, at Frost Arena.
-The Jacks are 9-0 all-time on the road vs. the ‘Dons.
-IPFW has never scored more than 72 points in the series.
-The Jacks are 1-1 in overtime games in the series. They beat the ‘Dons 74-72 Feb. 4, 2008, and lost 70-67 Jan. 22, 2011.
-SDSU won all three meetings last year. In the first game, the Jacks won 66-64 Jan. 12 in Fort Wayne on Megan Waytashek’s putback basket at the buzzer. In Frost Arena, SDSU won 72-62 Feb. 7, and in the Summit League Championship, the Jackrabbits eliminated the Mastodons, 86-59, March 11.
-In last year’s Summit League semifinal game, five Jackrabbits scored in double figures, led by Ashley Eide’s 16 points.
-SDSU has eliminated the Mastodons from the Summit League postseason tournament each of the past four seasons.
-Junior Megan Waytashek averages 18 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 51.9 percent from the field in her four games vs. the Mastodons. Classmate Megan Stuart averages 11 points and is shooting 61.1 percent from the field in five games vs. IPFW, and Gabby Boever averages 8.2 points, 3.2 assists and 2.6 steals in seven outings against Fort Wayne.
-In the last six games in Indiana, SDSU has averaged 71.2 points per game while limiting IPFW to 60.3 points per game.