Jackrabbits picked as Summit League favorites
ELMHURST, Ill. – The South Dakota State University women’s basketball team has been picked to again claim the Summit League title, according to poll conducted by the league’s coaches, sports information directors and select media that was released on Tuesday.
The Jackrabbits continued their long run of Summit League success during the 2012-13 season, winning both the regular season and postseason tournament titles. In the six seasons since joining The Summit League at the start of the 2007-08 season, SDSU has claimed four regular season titles (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013) and won five consecutive postseason tournament titles (2009-13).
SDSU claimed 27 of the 30 first-place votes in the 2013-14 preseason poll for a total of 319 points. Last season’s runner-up, IUPUI, was picked second after tallying the other three first-place votes and a total of 276 points. Tournament finalist South Dakota was third with 224 points, followed by Fort Wayne with 179.
Summit League newcomer Denver was picked fifth with 169 points, while the other teams in the lower half of the poll included Western Illinois (146), Omaha (77) and North Dakota State (74).
The Jackrabbits also placed two players on the preseason all-league team, highlighted by junior wing Megan Waytashek on the first team. A junior from Lino Lakes, Minn., Waytashek put together a breakthrough season during the 2012-13 campaign, finishing second on the team in scoring with an average of 13.6 points per game. A first-team all-Summit League selection last season, Waytashek scored 30 or more points in two league games.
Senior Steph Paluch earned a spot on the preseason all-league second team. A Pierre native, Paluch sat out the 2012-13 season after suffering an injury late in the previous season. A guard, Paluch led the Jackrabbits in both assists (78) and steals (44) during the 2011-12 season, while averaging 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game in 31 starts.
Reigning Summit League Player of the Year Amanda Hyde of Fort Wayne was selected to repeat as the league’s top performer.
The regular season begins Nov. 8, with the 14-game, double round-robin league schedule starting Jan. 9. The 2014 Summit League Women’s Basketball Championship will be held March 8-11 at the Sioux Falls Arena for a sixth consecutive year.
2013-14 Summit League Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
1. South Dakota State (27) 319
2. IUPUI (3) 276
3. South Dakota 224
4. Fort Wayne 179
5. Denver 169
6. Western Illinois 146
7. Omaha 77
8. North Dakota State 74
2013-14 Preseason All-Summit League First Team
DeAirra Goss G Sr. IUPUI
Amanda Hyde G/F Sr. Fort Wayne
Ashley Luke F So. Western Illinois
Nicole Seekamp G Jr. South Dakota
Morgan Van Riper-Rose G Jr. Denver
Megan Waytashek G/F Jr. South Dakota State
2013-14 Preseason All-Summit League Second Team
Dee-Dee Bellamy G Sr. IUPUI
Polly Harrington F Sr. South Dakota
Ericka House G Sr. Omaha
Steph Paluch G Sr. South Dakota State
Haley Seibert F Jr. Fort Wayne