Jacks begin road swing at Oakland
Tipoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time (2:30 p.m. Central) at the Athletics Center O'rena in Rochester, Mich.
SDSU enters the matchup with a 13-13 overall record and tied for fourth in The Summit League with a 9-6 league mark. The Jackrabbits have won five of their six games since dropping an overtime decision to Oakland at Frost Arena on Jan. 24. SDSU closed out the home portion of its schedule last weekend, recording a 65-40 victory over Western Illinois on Feb. 12 and earning a 62-47 win over IUPUI on Feb. 14.
Oakland, meanwhile, stands alone in third place in The Summit League at 10-4 in league play and 16-9 overall. The Golden Grizzlies dropped out of a tie for second place with IPFW, falling 70-55 at home to the Mastodons on Feb. 12.
THE SERIES: Saturday's game marks the ninth meeting between SDSU and Oakland in women's basketball, a series that began when the Jackrabbits joined The Summit League at the start of the 2007-08 campaign.
SDSU leads the series by a 5-3 margin, although Oakland has defeated the Jackrabbits in each of the last two contests on its home floor at the Athletics Center O'rena.
JACKRABBITS ONLINE: Audio 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.
Video coverage will be available through ougrizzlies.com.
Radio coverage begins at 2 p.m. Central Time on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, with Tyler Merriam calling the play-by-play. 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.
OU improved to 13-7 overall and remained in a second-place tie with IPFW in The Summit League standings at 7-2. SDSU dropped to 8-12 overall and 4-5 in league play. The Jackrabbits also fell to 4-6 in games at Frost Arena.
The game proved to be a defensive struggle and one filled with missed opportunities as SDSU finished with its worst shooting performance of the season and Oakland turned in its third-worst effort from the field.
After the Jackrabbits scored on their opening possession of the game, Oakland scored the next 13 points. SDSU went more than eight minutes until their next field goal - a three-pointer by Kristin Rotert - that pulled the Jackrabbits to within 13-9. With the Golden Grizzlies hitting a drought of their own in which they missed 13-of-14 shots from the field, the SDSU run reached 15-2 on Rotert's second three-pointer of the game, giving SDSU a 17-15 advantage with 7 minutes and 44 seconds to play in the half.
Oakland regained control late in the first half, closing with an 8-0 spurt over the final three-plus minutes, to take a 28-21 lead into the locker room.
Trailing 37-30 midway through the second half, the Jackrabbits pulled to within 39-37 as Steph Paluch connected on a pair of three-pointers during the run and three in the second half. SDSU still trailed by four, 50-46, in the final minute of regulation, but Jill Young brought the Jackrabbits to within a point on a three-pointer with 19.4 seconds left that dropped in after hitting the back iron.
Watterworth pushed the OU lead to 51-49 with a 1-of-2 effort at the line with 17 seconds left, and Rotert tied the game with two free throws with seven seconds on the clock.
The Jackrabbit defense came up with a pair of blocked shots in the final second to send the game to overtime. Jennifer Schuttloffel blocked Sharise Calhoun's layup out of bounds with 0.9 seconds remaining and Jennie Sunnarborg got a hand on Brittany Carnago's shot attempt in the lane as the buzzer sounded.
In overtime, SDSU opened the scoring on a three-pointer from the top of the key by Macie Michelson, which gave the Jackrabbits their first lead since 21-20 with 3:50 to play in the first half. Oakland came back to score the next five points before Ashley Eide knotted the game at 56-all on a driving layup with 1:16 remaining on the clock.
The Jackrabbit defense again held firm and SDSU had a chance to take the lead with 17 seconds left, but Sunnarborg - a 72 percent free throw shooter entering the night - missed a pair at the line. Watterworth was fouled on a shot attempt in the lane, missing the first and making the second to put the Golden Grizzlies in the lead for good.
SDSU had an open look at the basket as time expired, but Paluch's runner from a step inside the free throw line banked off the front iron.
The Jackrabbits ended the game 18-of-55 from the field, 32.7 percent, including 8-of-25 from three-point ranges. SDSU's shooting struggles extended to the free throw line, where it made only 12-of-23 attempts, 52.2 percent, including going 0-for-4 in overtime.
Rotert finished the game with her second career double-double, tallying 12 points and 12 rebounds. Sunnarborg added a dozen points before fouling out.
Oakland received a pair of double-double performances: Watterworth tallied 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Calhoun finished with 16 points and 12 boards. Overall, the Golden Grizzlies held a 52-40 advantage in rebounds, collecting 19 on the offensive glass.
The Golden Grizzlies ended the night 19-of-64 from the field, 29.7 percent, including 5-for-15 from behind the arc. At the line, OU made 14-of-22 attempts for 63.6 percent.
SUMMIT LEAGUE SUCCESS: South Dakota State has built an impressive Summit League résumé during its tenure in the 10-team conference.
Since joining the league at the start of the 2007-08 season, the Jackrabbits have
compiled a 56-13 record in Summit League regular season games en route to outright league titles with records of 16-2 in 2007-08 and 17-1 during the 2008-09 season. SDSU also is a perfect 6-0 in Summit League postseason tournament games, winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Note: the Jackrabbits were not eligible for the conference tournament in 2008 as it was completing its final season of transition to Division I status.
In addition, SDSU has gone 31-5 at home against league foes and has won at least one game on every other Summit League member's home court.
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 233 for her career. Brenda Davis (2001-04) holds the career record with 250.
In league play this season, Rotert is shooting 47.8 percent from long range, 33-of-69, including going a combined 13-for-22, 59.1 percent, over the last four games. 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.
Rotert 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 back-to-back 22-point nights against Oral Roberts on Feb. 7 and Western Illinois on Feb. 12, Rotert has vaulted into 12th place on the career scoring charts at SDSU. The Salem native enters Saturday's game with 1,388 points after passing both Maria Boever (1,360 points from 2007-10) and Laurie (Bruns) Kruse (1,370 points from 1988-91) in the game against Western Illinois. Next on the list is Nancy Joyce, who scored 1,411 points from 1977-80.
YOUNG FOR 3: Junior guard Jill Young has been a top-notch long range shooter for the Jackrabbits and enters Saturday's contest in sole possession of fourth place on the SDSU career three-point field goal charts with 205. Young, who has made 31 three-pointers over the last 10 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 17 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, 205-of-495, including a team-best 61-of-148 - 41.2 percent - this season. She enters Saturday's game ranked 27th nationally for three-point percentage and has scored 883 career points.
Young also has been racking up assists lately as she has taken over some of the point guard duties, totaling 38 over the last 14 games (2.71 apg). 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 (233) and Jill Young (205) have combined to make 438 career three-pointers. Individually, Rotert is tied for sixth in The Summit League annals, while Young stands 11th.
The IPFW duo of Jordan Zuppe (238) and Anne Boese (202) are the current leaders with a combined 440 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 14.2 points per game, a figure bumped up to 15.3 points per league outing. She enters the week fourth in The Summit League by shooting 53.1 percent (146-of-275) from the field, a percentage that ranks 32nd among Division I players.
Sunnarborg also leads the team with 40 blocked shots (1.54 bpg) this season as she has moved into eighth place on the Jackrabbit career blocked shots charts with 95.
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 9.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots over 11 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 then 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 Oakland with a career record of 260-89 (.745 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 56-13 record (.812 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 wrap up their eastern road swing by traveling to Fort Wayne, Ind., for a Feb. 21 meeting with IPFW. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Eastern Time (6 p.m. Central) at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center on the IPFW campus.
SDSU's final regular season game is slated for Feb. 26 at North Dakota State.
The Summit League Championships return to Sioux Falls March 5-8.
To read this weekend's entire preview, access the document at the top of the page.