Jacks Travel to Texas
BROOKINGS, S.D. — The South Dakota State women’s basketball team has an April affair when it plays UTEP in the WNIT semifinals Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center.
The Jackrabbits (26-9) advanced to the semifinals with a 76-64 win over Indiana March 30. Junior Megan Waytashek scored a team-high 20 points to lead three Jacks in double digits.
UTEP (28-7) defeated Washington, 70-63, Monday. Kristine Vitola and Kayla Thornton each posted a double-double to lead the Miners.
The winner of Wednesday’s game faces the winner of the Rutgers-South Florida game in the WNIT Championship Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT on the CBS Sports Network.
TRACKING THE JACKRABBITS
Radio - Audio coverage via the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com with play-by-play commentator J.J. Hartigan.
WNAX 570 AM - Flagship
KJJQ 910 AM - Brookings
KORN 1490 AM - Mitchell
KGFX 1060 AM – Pierre
KJOE 106.1 FM – Pipestone, Minn.
KSDR 950 AM – Watertown
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SETTING THE SCENE
-South Dakota State plays its first WNIT road game Wednesday after hosting the first four outings in Frost Arena.
-The Jacks are 7-6 on th road this season.
-With its four WNIT wins, South Dakota State ranks fourth in the nation for current win streaks. UConn leads the NCAA with a 43-game win streak.
-Wednesday’s game is the latest date the Jacks have played in school history.
-SDSU is ranked 12th in the latest CollegeInsider Mid-Major poll.
-The 64-team field was cut to 32 teams March 21, then to 16 March 24, March 27 to eight and Monday to the final four. Still in the tournament is UTEP from the west, Rutgers from the east and South Florida from the south.
-Seven of the top-50 teams in the country started in the 64-team field. Additionally, 35 have at least 20 wins and 10 won league titles.
A QUICK GLANCE AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
-Head coach Aaron Johnston’s probable starters vs. UTEP are senior Hannah Strop (4.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg), junior forward Mariah Clarin (9.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg), junior guards Megan Waytashek (11.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Gabrielle Boever (6.3 ppg, 2.6 apg) and senior guard Steph Paluch (10.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg). The lineup sports a 22-8 record.
-Waytashek has scored in double figures in 21 of 35 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.
-Clarin registered the Jacks’ fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds vs. Butler March 20. The forward has three double-doubles on the season.
-SDSU is shooting 40.4 percent from the field, 32.8 percent from three-point range and 74.6 percent from the free-throw line. The Jacks are also averaging 70.4 points per game and limiting opponents to 65.5 points per outing.
-The Jacks have a deep squad with 11 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game. Their bench averages 28.3 points per outing this season.
A GLANCE AT UTEP
-UTEP is coming off a 70-63 win over Washington in the WNIT semifinals Monday where 10,000 fans came to watch the Miners at the Don Haskins Center. Overall, UTEP is 28-7 and 20-2 playing at home. The Miners are led by Kayla Thornton who averages 19.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Jenzel Nash (11.6) and Kristine Vitola (10.9) also score in double figures for the Miners who average 77.3 points per game, while allowing 67.1.
THE UTEP SERIES
-Wednesday’s game vs. UTEP marks the first meeting between the Jackrabbits and the Miners in women’s basketball.
-The Jackrabbits are 5-4 vs. C-USA teams. The last time SDSU played a C-USA team was Dec. 21, 2013, when it lost at Middle Tennessee State, 59-44.