Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Central) at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center on the IPFW campus in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Jackrabbits, who have won six games in a row and nine of their last 10, enter Saturday's matchup 12-5 overall and 4-0 in The Summit League. SDSU opened its road swing with a 64-43 victory over Oakland Thursday night in Rochester, Mich.
Fort Wayne, meanwhile, is 6-10 overall and 2-2 in league play after recording a 65-58 home win over North Dakota State on Thursday. The Mastodons feature the league's leading scorer in junior guard Amanda Hyde, who is averaging 20.2 points per game after scoring a game-high 22 in the win over North Dakota State.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Audio coverage of Saturday's game is scheduled to be available via the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com, the official website of SDSU athletics. Monthly subscriptions for the Jackrabbit Extra, which includes live audio and video streaming of select contests are available for $11.95 per month or $99.95 for an entire year of coverage. Video streaming will be available at GoMastodons.com.
Local radio coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Central Time on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, with J.J. Hartigan calling the play-by-play. Jackrabbit Sports Network affiliates for SDSU women's basketball this season include: 104.1 FM (The Wolf) in Yankton, KBRK 93.7 FM in Brookings, and Pierre-based KGFX 92.7 FM.
THE SERIES: South Dakota State has dominated the all-time series against IPFW, holding a 17-1 advantage since the two programs first met during the 2004-05 season.
The Jackrabbits won each of the first 12 meetings before IPFW cracked the win column with a 70-67 overtime victory on Jan. 22, 2011, at Frost Arena. SDSU has won the last five meetings, including all three a season ago.
In the first meeting of the 2011-12 campaign, Katie Lingle came off the bench to post a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Jackrabbits to an 81-58 victory on Dec. 31, 2011, at Frost Arena.
Young ended the afternoon with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Jennie Sunnarborg tallied 16 points, while Ashley Eide narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Overall, SDSU held a 50-35 advantage on the boards, including 18 on the offensive glass.
Anne Boese led Fort Wayne with 13 points, while Stephanie Rosado tallied 10 points and nine rebounds.
In the rematch, Jan. 28, 2012, in Fort Wayne, Sunnarborg and Young each tallied 15 points to pace South Dakota State to a 76-66 victory as four Jackrabbit players scored in double figures. Eide finished the game with 11 points, while Lingle again came off the bench to reach double digits with 10.
SDSU shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, breaking a 36-all tie early in the final stanza.
Rosado scored a game-high 21 points for the Mastodons, followed by 14 from Amanda Hyde and 10 by Sarah Haluska.
The Jackrabbits knocked Fort Wayne out of the Summit League Championship for the third consecutive year as top-seeded SDSU scored an 80-59 victory in the opening round March 3, 2012, at the Sioux Falls Arena.
Reserves provided a much-needed spark after a sluggish start as the Jackrabbit bench accounted for 18 points as SDSU took control with a late run to build a 35-18 halftime lead.
Four Jackrabbits scored in double figures, with Sunnarborg leading the way with 14 points. Steph Paluch tallied 13 points, while Lingle added 12 and Tara Heiser chipped in with 10.
SDSU dominated the rebounding category, 41-23. Leah Dietel, Sunnarborg and Lingle all shared team-high honors with six rebounds. Dietel also contributed a career-high six assists.
The Mastodons were led by Amanda Hyde with 19 points and six rebounds. Rosado finished with 17 points, while Haluska added 10.
SUMMIT LEAGUE PREVIEW: After capturing its record fourth-straight tournament title and third regular season title in five years, South Dakota State was tabbed as the 2012-13 women's basketball preseason favorite. The Jackrabbits collected 22 first-place votes and 330 points in voting conducted by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media. Oakland's Bethany Watterworth was selected as the preseason Player of the Year.
Last season's Summit League Tournament finalist, Kansas City, placed second in the poll with 260 points and one first-place vote. Oakland, North Dakota State and IUPUI were separated by just 21 points for the third through fifth slots with the Jaguars claiming one first-place tally. South Dakota edged out Western Illinois for sixth place while Fort Wayne and league newcomer Omaha rounded out the poll. The Mastodons collected the final first-place vote.
Watterworth, an all-league first team selection each of the last two years and second team honoree as a freshman in 2010, was the preseason selection for Player of the Year after scoring a team-high 18.7 points and grabbing 5.4 rebounds per game.
Joining Watterworth on the first team are Kansas City teammates Kim Nezianya, an all-tournament team honoree, and Eilise O'Connor. The duo helped lead the Kangaroos to just their second appearance all-time in the championship game last year. An all-league first teamer last season, IUPUI's Kerah Nelson captured a spot on the preseason first team, while North Dakota State's Katie Birkel and South Dakota State's Ashley Eide also earned the distinction.
The second team is highlighted by returning Newcomer of the Year Saule Kontautaite of Western Illinois. She is accompanied by North Dakota State's Janae Burich, a second team all-league selection, IUPUI's Katie Comello, Oakland's Zakiya Minifee and Omaha's Paige Frauendorfer.
The Summit League concluded a record-setting season a year ago finishing the year ranked No. 19 in the College Basketball News RPI, peaking as high as No. 11 midseason. The league sent a record four teams to postseason tournaments and set a new women's league tournament attendance record.
OPENER STREAK ENDS: The Jackrabbits' 71-47 defeat at the hands of Villanova ended a 19-game winning streak in season openers. The last time SDSU had lost a season opener was during the 1992-93 season, when it fell 74-72 to Moorhead State (Minn.).
827 AND COUNTING: SDSU's victory over Oakland on Dec. 29, 2011, was the 800th in the women's basketball program's history. Since the modern era of women's basketball at South Dakota State University began with a 6-0 mark during the 1966-67 season, the Jacks have gone on to compile an overall record of 827-371 (.690 winning percentage).
In addition, SDSU sealed its 26th consecutive winning season between competing at the NCAA Division II and Divsion I levels during the 2011-12 season.The Jackrabbits' last losing season was an 11-16 campaign during the 1985-86 season.
175 D-I WINS: Since moving up to the NCAA Division I ranks at the start of the 2004-05 season, the Jackrabbits have posted a winning record against D-I opponents. In its eight-plus seasons competing at the Division I level, SDSU has compiled a 177-71 mark (.714 winning percentage) versus D-I opposition. The Jackrabbits have posted victories over 57 different Division I teams representing 21 conferences plus independents.
TOUGH AT HOME: The Jackrabbit women's basketball team has gained a decisive home-court advantage at Frost Arena over the past decade.
In his tenure as Jackrabbit head coach, Aaron Johnston has led the Jackrabbits to a 156-23 record (.872 winning percentage) at Frost Arena, including a 101-15 mark (.871winning pct.) at home during the Division I era. The Jackrabbits have put together home winning streaks of 15, 15 and 22 in the process. SDSU had a 10-game home winning streak end in a Nov. 14 loss to Creighton, but has since won its last six home contests.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, SDSU has a 146-18 home record (.890 winning percentage), losing an average of less than two games at Frost Arena each full
season. The Jackrabbits capped the 2008-09 regular season with a 14-0 record - a mark that stands as the first undefeated home season in school history.
A loss to Western Kentucky early in the 2009-10 campaign snapped a 35-game
regular season home winning streak, as well as a 15-game overall winning streak that began after SDSU lost to Creighton (Neb.) in the first round of the 2008 Women's NIT.
SUMMIT LEAGUE SUCCESS: South Dakota State has built an impressive Summit League résumé during its tenure in the conference.
Since joining the league at the start of the 2007-08 season, the Jackrabbits have
compiled a 79-15 record (.840 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games en route to outright league titles with records of 16-2 in 2007-08, 17-1 during the 2008-09 season and 16-2 during the 2011-12 campaign. In addition, SDSU has gone 43-5 at home (.896 winning percentage) against league foes and has won at least one game on every other Summit League member's home court with the exception of South Dakota, which joined the Summit League last season, and Omaha, which is a new member during the 2012-13 season.
WAYTASHEK RETURNS: Jackrabbit forward Megan Waytashek made a successful return to the court by being named to the all-tournament team at the season-opening Best Buy Classic.
Waytashek missed most of her first two seasons in the Jackrabbit program due to knee injuries. She was granted an injury hardship this past summer, giving her three remaining years of eligibility.
A sophomore from Lino Lakes, Minn., Waytashek has scored in double figures in 13 of 17 games this season, with a pair of double-doubles. At the Best Buy Classic, Waytashek tallied 10 points versus Villanova (Pa.) and 13 points with seven rebounds in an overtime win over Washington State.
In earning co-Summit League Player of the Week honors on Dec. 10, Waytashek averaged 20 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals per game in wins over Eastern Michigan and Northern Iowa. She opened the week by tying a then-career high with 17 points, including the game-winning basket, against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 4. She then scored a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting Dec. 8 at Northern Iowa, including 3-for-3 on three-point attempts.
For the week, she shot 51 percent (14-of-23) from the field, 62 percent (5-of-8) on three-pointers and 70 percent (7-of-10) at the free throw line.
Waytashek enters the weekend second on the team in scoring at 13.2 points per game. She also ranks second with 28 three-pointers, is second in rebounds (74/4.4 rpg) and is tied for third in steals with 22.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Senior guard Ashley Eide is on pace to join the Jackrabbit 1,000-Point Club this season.
A Sioux Falls native, Eide enters the week with 891 career points after hitting the 20-point mark for the fourth time in five games with a game-high 22-point outing against South Dakota on Jan. 6. Eide has topped 20 points six times this season, including tying her career high with 27 points on a career-best seven three-pointers Dec. 21 at Georgetown as SDSU defeated a BIG EAST opponent for the first time.
She had a streak of three consecutive games with at least 20 points, starting with a 25-point night against Delaware State on Dec. 18. Eide also tallied 26 points in the Jackrabbits' Nov. 18 upset win over nationally ranked Nebraska and scored 21 in an overtime loss to Marquette (Wis.) on Nov. 28.
Eide currently ranks leads the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game and also paces the team with 37 three-pointers. In the most recent NCAA statistics, she ranks 14th among Division I players this season for three-point shooting at 45.1 percent (37-for-82).
During the 2011-12 season, during which she earned second-team all-Summit League honors, Eide finished third on the team with an average of 10.9 points per game. She would become the 32nd player in Jackrabbit women's basketball history to top 1,000 points.
EIDE HONORED: South Dakota State University women's basketball player Ashley Eide has been selected as Summit League Female Athlete of the Month for her performance during the month of December.
A senior from Sioux Falls, Eide helped lead the Jackrabbits to a 6-1 record during December, while averaging 17.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. She tied a career high with 27 points and set new single-game marks with 13 rebounds and seven three-pointers in a win at Georgetown on Dec. 21. She topped the 20-mark on two other occasions, scoring 25 points in a Dec. 18 win over Delaware State and tallying 20 in the Summit League opener Dec. 30 against North Dakota State.
Eide shot 54 percent (46-of-86) from the field in the seven games, including 47 percent (22-of-47) from three-point range. She also averaged three assists and 1.3 steals in 28.1 minutes per game.
League-leading SDSU's only loss in December came at nationally ranked Penn State on Dec. 16, a game in which Eide scored a team-high 14 points.
Eide is the third Jackrabbit student-athlete to receive a Summit League Athlete of the Month award this academic year. Men's cross country runner Michael Krsnak and women's soccer player Diana Potterveld were both honored in October.
Western Illinois basketball player Terell Parks was the December honoree on the men's side.
SENIOR LEADER: Senior center Katie Lingle has given the Jackrabbits a big boost both off the bench and as a member of the starting lineup during the 2012-13 season. The Pierre native ranks third on the team in scoring with an average of 7.6 points per game and fourth in rebounding at 4.1 rebounds per contest.
Lingle began the season on the bench, but started three games beginning with a Nov. 28 matchup against Marquette, when she scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds.
She returned to a reserve role Dec. 8 at Northern Iowa, but responded by matching her season high with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field to go along with seven boards.
Lingle also scored 12 points in an overtime victory over Washington State on Nov. 11, then turned in a pair of strong performances to open the home season. She tallied nine points and nine rebounds Nov. 14 versus Creighton, then added nine points and eight rebounds in the upset win over Nebraska on Nov. 18. Lingle also blocked three shots in each contest.
Over the last three games, Lingle is averaging 8.7 points per game, while shooting 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from the field. She also is averaging 3.0 rebounds and 1.33 blocked shots per game.
She enters the week tied for 11th on the Jackrabbit career blocked shots chart with 72.
DIETEL ON THE BOARDS: Senior forward Leah Dietel has been a strong presence on the glass during the first half of the 2012-13 season. The Jordan, Minn., native tied a career high with 10 rebounds in the Nov. 18 upset of nationally ranked Nebraska and matched that exactly a month later in a home win over Delaware State - a game in which she also scored a career-high 16 points.
Dietel has tallied at least five rebounds in 12 of the last 16 games. She currently leads the team with an average of 5.9 rebounds per game.
BOMBS AWAY: Sophomore wing Rachel Walters has developed into a three-point specialist for the Jackrabbit women's basketball team.
During her career, 117 of Walters' 124 shot attempts have been from three-point land. During the 2012-13 season, all but one of her 45 attempts have come from long range.
Walters matched a career high with 12 points - all on three-pointers - in a Nov. 23 loss at Central Michigan. Her previous 12-point outing also came in the state of Michigan as she drained four three-pointers in a win at Oakland during her freshman season.
STROP SETTLES IN: Junior forward Hannah Strop has made a successful transition to the Jackrabbit starting lineup in recent weeks.
A native of New Prague, Minn., Strop earned her first career start at Northern Iowa on Dec. 8. Although she did not score, Strop matched her career high with six rebounds - a total she again equaled Dec. 18 against Delaware State.
On Dec. 30 against North Dakota State, Strop connected on 3-of-4 three-point attempts en route to a season-high nine points She also grabbed five rebounds and
contributed a steal and blocked shot.Strop again made a trio of three-pointers Jan. 3 against Kansas City, equaling her season high with of nine points.
In her seven starts, she is averaging 4.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 45 percent (9-of-20) from three-point range.
CLEANING THE GLASS: After being out-rebounded in back-to-back games losses to Central Michigan and Marquette (Wis.), the Jackrabbits returned to their winning ways thanks to a strong effort on the boards Dec. 1 against Middle Tennessee. SDSU held a season-best 17-rebound advantage, 48-31, as Megan Waytashek led the effort with 10 rebounds. All 11 SDSU players to see action in the game tallied at least one board.
The Jackrabbits turned in another strong rebounding performance in their Dec. 8 win at Northern Iowa, holding a 42-27 advantage. Sophomore guard Gabby Boever led SDSU with a career-high eight rebounds and junior forward Hannah Strop tied a career high with six rebounds as she made her first career start.
SDSU posted its best rebounding effort of the season Jan. 3 in an 82-47 victory over Kansas City. The Jackrabbits ended the night with a 44-17 (plus-27) advantage in total rebounds, including a 19-3 edge on the offensive glass. SDSU converted the 19 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points, compared to four by the Kangaroos.
For the season, the Jackrabbits have out-rebounded the opposition in 10 games and have been tied twice in 17 contests.
DOUBLE DUTY: The Jackrabbit women's basketball team has received double-double performances from three different players this season, including two by sophomore forward Megan Waytashek.
Waytashek posted the team's first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in a Dec. 1 home victory over Middle Tennessee. Her second double-double was a 15-point, 11-rebound outing Jan. 3 against Kansas City. Waytashek's 11 boards were a career high.
Ashley Eide's 27-point, 13-rebound performance Dec. 21 at Georgetown marked season highs by an SDSU player in both categories during the 2012-13 campaign.
Leah Dietel turned in a double-double performance Dec. 18 against Delaware State, scoring a career-high 16 points while tying a career best with 10 rebounds.
COACH AARON JOHNSTON: In his 13th season as head coach of the South Dakota State University women's basketball team, Aaron Johnston has taken the Jackrabbit
program to the top of NCAA Division II and is leading SDSU to national prominence at the Division I level.
Johnston, who coached his 400th career game Dec. 16 at Penn State, enters the weekend with a career record of 302-104 (.744 winning percentage). With the Jackrabbits' 64-43 win at Oakland on Jan. 10, Johnston passed his predecessor, Nancy Neiber, who compiled a 301-140 record in 16 seasons from 1985-2000, for the program's lead in career coaching victories.
Johnston posted his 200th career victory on Dec. 4, 2008, against Centenary (La.), earned his 250th victory versus Illinois State on Nov. 24, 2010, and logged career win No. 300 against Kansas City on Jan. 3, 2013. His career totals have included a 79-15 record (.840 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games, putting him at the top of the league's career winning percentage charts.Johnston also has led the Jackrabbits to a perfect 12-0 mark in Summit League postseason tournament contests and a 16-8 mark (.667 winning percentage) in postseason games.
The Summit League Coach of the Year in each of the Jackrabbits' first two seasons in the league and again during the 2011-12 season, Johnston was named a finalist for the 2009 Naismith Award as the nation's top coach. SDSU tied a school record for victories in a season with 32 during the 2008-09 campaign and gained national attention by vaulting into the top 25 in December after non-conference victories over the likes of Wisconsin, Utah, Minnesota and Gonzaga (Wash.). The Jackrabbits were ranked in the final 13 USA Today/ ESPN regular season coaches' polls, climbing as high as 14th in the coaches' poll and 16th in the Associated Press poll. SDSU finished the 2008-09 season ranked 19th by the coaches.
Along the way to a 32-3 overall record, the Jackrabbits received national media coverage from CBS Sports, USA Today, ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times.
A native of Pine Island, Minn., "A.J." earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. After serving one year as an assistant coach at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, he moved on to SDSU as a graduate assistant for the Jackrabbit men's basketball team for two seasons before becoming assistant women's coach. He also coached the SDSU golf teams one year.
TOEING THE LINE: During their current six-game winning streak, the Jackrabbits have made the most of their trips to the free throw line by converting 103-of-135 attempts for 76.3 percent.
SDSU began its run of success at the charity stripe by establishing season highs with 32 made free throws in 37 attempts for 86.5 percent in a Dec. 18 win over Delaware State.
Sophomore forward Megan Waytashek has led the free throw effort by going 25-of-26 (96.2 percent) over the last six games, including a streak of 22 consecutive that ended with her first attempt Jan. 10 at Oakland. The Jackrabbit record for most consecutive made free throws is 35, which Heather Sieler set by making her final 17 attempts of the 2002-03 season and first 18 attempts of the 2003-04 campaign.
HEATING UP: South Dakota State has found success on the offensive end during the early portion of the Summit League season. The Jackrabbits shot at least 48 percent in each of their first three league games, including a season-best 50 percent (28-of-56) against North Dakota State in the league opener on Dec. 30.
Combined in their four Summit League games, the Jackrabbits have shot 45.3 percent (105-of-232) from the field, including 30-of-78 from three-point range. SDSU also has averaged 73.5 points per Summit League game, while allowing only 51.8.
Adding to the offensive efficiency is the fact that the Jackrabbits have averaged only 13.5 turnovers per game - more than five turnovers per game less than the season average.
ACADEMIC SUCCESS: The South Dakota State University women's basketball team continued its track record of academic success, ranking second among Division I programs in the Women's Basketball Coaches Associations Academic Top 25 with a 3.610 team grade-point average during the 2011-12 academic year.
"It was another successful year in the classroom for our program," head coach Aaron Johnston said. "Year after year we have been at or near the top of the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll. SDSU is a great institution and clearly our university has an excellent plan in place for helping students excel academically."
Wisconsin-Green Bay held the top spot among Division I programs, edging the Jackrabbits for the top spot with a 3.616 team GPA. The top three teams in the D-I rankings all played in the NCAA Tournament as DePaul (Ill.) completed the trio with at 3.604.
Across all divisions of women's college basketball, which includes NCAA Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior colleges, the Jackrabbits finished 10th overall. Drury (Mo.) led all divisions with a 3.709 team GPA, followed by Northland (Wis.) at 3.706.
In seven seasons competing at the Division I level, SDSU has finished no worse than third place in the Division I team GPA rankings. The Jackrabbits have led the nation four times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011), finished second twice (2010, 2012) and placed third once (2009). In addition, SDSU led all divisions of women's college basketball for team GPA in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Also during the 2011-12 season, Ashley Eide was selected to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team. Majoring in health, physical education and recreation, Eide earned a spot on the honor squad with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
Eide is the sixth Jackrabbit women's basketball player to receive Academic All-America recognition during the program's history, joining: Tara Tessier (first team, 1988); Laurie (Bruns) Kruse (second team, 1991); Jodi Bergemann (third team, 1994); Megan Vogel (second team, 2007), and Jennifer Warkenthien (second team, 2009).
PALUCH TO REDSHIRT: Senior guard Steph Paluch is expected to redshirt during the 2012-13 season, head coach Aaron Johnston announced in late November.
A Pierre native, Paluch started the first 31 games of the 2011-12 season before suffering a knee injury in the semifinals of the Summit League postseason tournament. Playing both the point and off-guard positions, Paluch led the team with 78 assists and 44 steals a season ago. She also averaged 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
SISTER ACT: Two members of the 2012-13 Jackrabbit women's basketball team are following in the footsteps of older sisters - both of whom were recent additions to the SDSU 1,000-Point Club.
Sophomore guard Gabby Boever is the second from her family to play for the Jackrabbits. The Worthington, Minn., native follows her older sister, Maria, who scored 1,360 points - currently 14th - during a career that spanned the 2007-10 seasons.
Freshman guard Chloe Cornemann is expected to make her collegiate debut this weekend. Cornemann's older sister, Ketty, also lettered for the Jackrabbits from 2007-10, finishing her career 30th in scoring at SDSU with 1,042 points. Their father, Dave, was an NCAA Division II national champion wrestler for the Jackrabbits at 167 pounds in 1984.
In addition, fellow newcomer Anne Aamlid has strong Jackrabbit bloodlines - her sister, Seri, played volleyball while brother, Nik, was a member of the SDSU football team. Their father, Brian, played basketball at SDSU from 1977-81.
JACKRABBIT INSIDER: Throughout the 2012-13 women's basketball season, head coach Aaron Johnston will be a guest on the "Jackrabbit Insider," a weekly behind-the-scenes look at South Dakota State University athletics.
The half-hour television show which features interviews with Jackrabbit coaches and student-athletes, airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on Sioux Falls-based KTTW FOX 7. The show is also broadcast on FOX Sports North at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and on FOX College Sports Central (check listings). Online, the show can be viewed at GoJacks.com.
JACKRABBIT BASKETBALL COACHES SHOW: Fans are invited to join coaches Aaron Johnston and Scott Nagy every Monday at Cubby's Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Brookings for the Jackrabbit Basketball Coaches Show.
Hosted by South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year Tyler Merriam, the show airs from 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays on the Jackrabbit Sports Network through flagship station WNAX 570 AM and online via the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com.
THE ROSTER: The 2012-13 SDSU women's basketball roster features 14 players from two different states. Of the 14 players, seven are from Minnesota and seven are from South Dakota. By class, four are seniors, two are juniors, six are sophomores and two are incoming freshmen.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits return home for a Jan. 17 matchup against Western Illinois. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Frost Arena.