Jacks host WIU in Pink Zone game
Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. at Frost Arena, with the men's game to follow at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday's game also has been designated as the annual Pink Zone game. SDSU's game worn pink jerseys will be up for auction at GoJacks.com through Friday, Feb. 18, with a portion of the proceeds designated for breast cancer charities.
The Jackrabbits enter Saturday's game with an 11-13 overall record, including a 7-6 mark in league play to sit in a tie with North Dakota State for fourth place in the Summit standings. SDSU had its three-game overall winning streak and four-game Summit League road winning string snapped Feb. 7 in an 85-78 loss at league-leading Oral Roberts despite a season-high 24 points from Jill Young and 22 by Kristin Rotert.
Western Illinois, meanwhile, will attempt to solidify its position for next month's Summit League Championships in Sioux Falls. The Fighting Leathernecks are currently in a three-way tie for sixth place in The Summit League with a 5-7 conference mark. Overall, WIU is 7-15 after being swept at home by IPFW (73-54) and Oakland (56-47) last week.
THE SERIES: Saturday's game marks the ninth meeting between South Dakota State and Western Illinois, a series that began when the Jackrabbits joined The Summit League at the start of the 2007-08 campaign.
Western Illinois won the first-ever matchup between the two squads, a 67-60 decision on Jan. 14, 2008, in Macomb, Ill. However, the Jackrabbits have won the seven other meetings, including a 67-39 victory in the Summit League tournament semifinals last season.
SDSU has won all three previous matchups at Frost Arena by comfortable margins, the closest being a 25-point, 85-60 decision during the 2007-08 campaign.
FIRST MEETING: Jill Young scored 22 points for a South Dakota State women's basketball team that put together one of its most complete performances of the season in an 87-59 victory at Western Illinois on Jan. 17 in Macomb, Ill.
In extending their winning streak to a season-best three games, the Jackrabbits improved to 8-10 overall and 4-3 in The Summit League. WIU dropped to 5-11 overall, 3-4 in league play.
SDSU trailed only once the entire night, 3-2, after a Sadie Webb three-pointer 66 seconds into the game. The Jackrabbits regained the lead seconds later on a jumper by Katie Lingle and stayed in rhythm offensively throughout the contest.
Webb did her best to keep the Fighting Leathernecks in the game as she scored 18 of her team-high 20 points in the first half. Her second three-pointer of the half brought WIU to within 21-17 with 10 minutes and 42 seconds to play in the opening stanza.
The momentum shifted firmly in the Jackrabbits' favor as Young answered with a three-pointer of her own and then made a pair of free throws after the WIU bench was whistled for a technical foul, pushing the Jackrabbit lead to 26-17.
A three-pointer by Jennie Sunnarborg gave the Jackrabbits their first double-digit lead of the night at 32-20. SDSU led 47-34 at halftime.
WIU trimmed the margin to nine points on a couple of occasions early in the second half before Leah Dietel scored seven consecutive points to build the SDSU lead to 18, 63-45, with 13:47 to play in the game. The Jackrabbits continued to extend the lead with strong free throw shooting, connecting on all 15 attempts in the second half.
Overall, SDSU shot 87.5 percent from the charity stripe, making 21-of-24 attempts. From the field, the Jackrabbits made 29-of-59 attempts, 49.2 percent, including an 8-for-18 effort from beyond the arc.
All 11 players to see action for SDSU scored. Young drained 5-of-9 three-point attempts en route to her 22 points, while Sunnarborg added 15. Dietel rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Jackrabbits with 12 points off the bench.
The Jackrabbits also held a 42-26 rebounding advantage, with Sunnarborg leading the way with six boards.
WIU ended the night 18-of-50 from the field, 36 percent, including 5-for-12 from three-point range. At the line, the Fighting Leathernecks converted 18-of-28 attempts, 64.3 percent.
Jackie Barton also reached double figures for WIU with 13 points.
JACKRABBITS ONLINE: Audio and video coverage of Saturday's game is scheduled to be available through the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com, the official website of SDSU athletics. Monthly subscriptions are $4.95 for audio only and $11.95 for both video and audio.
A pay-per-view option, featuring both games of the doubleheader, also is available for $7.95. Click here to access the pay-per-view option.
Radio coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. Central Time on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, with Tyler Merriam calling the play-by-play and former assistant coach Laurie Melum providing color commentary. Network stations carrying Saturday's game include WNAX 570 in Yankton, KJJQ 910 AM in Brookings, KGFX 1060 AM in Pierre, KRKI 99.5 FM in Rapid City and Watertown-based KWAT 950 AM.
JACKRABBIT INSIDER: Throughout the 2010-11 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 at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Online, the show can be viewed at GoJacks.com.
TOUGH AT HOME: For only the second time since Aaron Johnston's first full season as head coach - 2000-01 - the Jackrabbit women's basketball team has lost more than one home game.
In his tenure as Jackrabbit head coach, Johnston has led the Jackrabbits to a 134-21 record (.865 winning percentage) at Frost Arena, including a 79-12 mark (.868 winning pct.) at home during the Division I era. The Jackrabbits have put together winning streaks of 15, 15 and 22 in the process. SDSU's latest home winning streak was snapped at 11 games with its loss to North Dakota State on Dec. 4, 2010.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, SDSU has a 123-16 home record (.885 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.
SDSU's loss to Oral Roberts on Jan. 4, 2010, marked its first home loss to a Summit League opponent.ROTERT ON CAREER LISTS: Senior wing Kristin Rotert continues to move up the SDSU career lists for points and three-pointers.
The Salem native moved into second place on the Jackrabbit career three-point chart after sinking a season-high five three-pointers in the Jan. 15 victory at IUPUI, and enters Saturday's game with 228 for her career. Brenda Davis (2001-04) holds the career record with 250.
Rotert had her streak of games with at least one made three-pointer end at 26 in the Nov. 15 victory over Hampton (Va.). She sank a trey in 32 of the team's 33 games last season, ending the 2009-10 campaign with a team-high 72 three-pointers, including 14 in three Summit League tournament games. She set a then-freshman record with 58 three-pointers during the 2007-08 season and ranked second on the team with 60 treys as a sophomore.
Also last season, Rotert became the 29th player in Jackrabbit women's basketball history to score 1,000 points, reaching the milestone in the Summit League tournament semifinal against Western Illinois.With a 22-point night Feb. 7 at Oral Roberts, Rotert vaulted three more spots to 14th on the career scoring charts at SDSU. The Salem native enters Saturday's game with 1,353 points after passing Pat Dobratz (1,334 points from 1971-74), Angie Swenson (1,335 points from 1994-97) and former teammate Jennifer Warkenthien (1,349 points from 2006-09). Rotert is poised to move up another notch Saturday as she needs eight points to pass another former teammate, Maria Boever, who tallied 1,360 points from 2007-10.
YOUNG FOR 3: Junior guard Jill Young has been a top-notch long range shooter for the Jackrabbits and enters Saturday's in sole possession of fourth place on the SDSU career three-point field goal charts with 201. Young, who has made 27 three-pointers over the last eight games, broke a tie with Megan Vogel (194 three-pointers from 2004-07) by tying a career high with seven three-pointers Feb. 7 at Oral Roberts. She has made at least one trifecta in 15 straight games.
SDSU's representative on the Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Team, Young was the lone Jackrabbit to score double figures in all three games, tallying 15 against Utah Valley, 13 versus Hampton and 12 at Purdue. For the tournament, she shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the field, including 9-for-17 from three-point range. She finished with 13.3 points and 2.3 assists per game.
The Mitchell native ranked third among NCAA Division I players during the 2008-09
season by shooting at a 46.1 percent (82-of-178) clip from three-point range. Young's 82 made three-pointers also set a Jackrabbit freshman record, eclipsing the mark of 58 set by Kristin Rotert during the 2007-08 campaign.
For her career, Young is shooting 41.4 percent from three-point range, 201-of-485, including a team-best 57-of-138 - 41.3 percent - this season. She enters Saturday's game with 866 career points.
Young also has been racking up assists lately as she has taken over some of the point guard duties, totaling 33 over the last 12 games. She set a new career high with six assists in the Dec. 29 game at Southern Utah and matched that total two days later at UMKC.
THREE-POINT TANDEM: The Jackrabbits boast one of the top long-range shooting tandems in the history of The Summit League. Combined, Kristin Rotert (228) and Jill Young (201) have combined to make 429 career three-pointers. Individually, Rotert is seventh in The Summit League annals, while Young stands 13th.
The IPFW duo of Jordan Zuppe (232) and Anne Boese (202) are the current leaders with a combined 434 made three-pointers. The all-time Summit League record for combined three-pointers by teammates is 467, set by the Oakland duo of Anne Hafeli (235) and Jayme Wilson (232) from 2003-06.
PALUCH'S PERIMETER PROWESS: Sophomore Steph Paluch gave the Jackrabbits a lift off the bench with strong perimeter shooting against Oakland in their Jan. 24 meeting at Frost Arena. The Pierre native was a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range to finish with nine points.
Paluch, who has started the last three games, is shooting 12-for-19 (63.2 percent) from behind the arc for the season. Her career three-point marksmanship stands at 62.1 percent (18-of-29).
SUNNARBORG RISES UP: Junior forward Jennie Sunnarborg has performed well on both ends of the floor throughout the 2010-11 season.
A native of Osseo, Minn., Sunnarborg leads the Jackrabbits in scoring with an average of 14.0 points per game, a figure bumped up to 15.2 points per league outing. She enters the weekend third in The Summit League by shooting 53.6 percent (133-of-248) from the field, a percentage that would also rank in the top 30 among Division I players.
Sunnarborg also leads the team with 39 blocked shots (1.63 bpg) this season as she has moved into eighth place on the Jackrabbit career blocked shots charts with 94.
Sunnarborg set a career high with 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field in the win over UMKC on Jan. 31. She has reached the 20-point mark six other times this season. Her streak of double-digit games ended at nine Feb. 7 at Oral Roberts, when she scored six.
In a season-opening win over Utah Valley on Nov. 12, Sunnarborg tallied 12 points and tied a career-high with six blocked shots.
LINGLE MAKES A DIFFERENCE: Sophomore center Katie Lingle has given the Jackrabbits an additional low-post presence in recent weeks.
Since initially cracking the starting lineup Dec. 31 at UMKC, Lingle has averaged 9.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots over nine games. In that first career start, Lingle posted the first double-double by an SDSU player this season with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
After missing two games due to injury, the Pierre native returned to the lineup Jan. 29 against Southern Utah and contributed seven points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots. She has since established a new career high for scoring in back-to-back games, tallying 14 points at Centenary (La.) on Feb. 5 and 16 at Oral Roberts two nights later.
COACH AARON JOHNSTON: Now in his 11th 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 enters Saturday's matchup against Western Illinois with a career record of 258-89 (.744 winning percentage), ranking second on the SDSU career victories list behind his predecessor, Nancy Neiber, who compiled a 301-140 record in 16 seasons from 1985-2000. Johnston posted his 200th career victory on Dec. 4, 2008, against Centenary (La.) and No. 250 on Nov. 24, 2010, versus Illinois State. His career totals have included a 54-13 record (.806 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games and a 16-6 mark (.727 winning percentage) in postseason games.
THE ROSTER: The 2010-11 SDSU women's basketball roster features 13 players from two different states. Of the 13 players, seven are from South Dakota and six are from Minnesota. By class, three are seniors, two are juniors, four are sophomores, one is a redshirt freshman and three are incoming freshmen.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits close out the home portion of their schedule on Monday night (Feb. 14) with a matchup against IUPUI. The game has been designated as both Career Service Night and Military Appreciation Night.
Military personnel - active or retired - can receive two complimentary tickets to the game by presenting valid identification. For more information, contact the Jackrabbit Ticket Office at 1-866-GO JACKS.
The Jackrabbit senior class of Macie Michelson, Kristin Rotert and Jennifer Schuttloffel also will be honored prior to the 7 p.m. tipoff.
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