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Photo by: South Dakota State University

Jackrabbits prepare for NDSU

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 03/03/2012 03:32:35
The South Dakota State University women's basketball team will begin defense of its Summit League tournament title, squaring off against North Dakota State Sunday afternoon in the opening round of the Summit League Championship.
Tipoff is slated for 2:35 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The third-seeded Jackrabbits enter the tournament having won five consecutive games and eight of their last nine to push their overall record to 16-13. SDSU finished tied with Oakland for third place in the league standings with a 12-6 mark, but earned the third seed on tiebreakers.
NDSU is seeded sixth in the eight-team field after posting a 13-15 overall record and 9-9 mark in The Summit League. The Bison tied for sixth in the league standings with UMKC, but was awarded the sixth seed after sweeping the Kangaroos during the regular season.
Sunday's game is scheduled to be televised on Midco Sports Net; however, the broadcast will be blacked out in the Sioux Falls, Mitchell and Yankton markets if the session is not sold out 24 hours in advance.
The winner will advance to Monday's semifinals and will face the winner of Saturday's matchup between second-seeded IPFW and No. 7 UMKC. Tipoff is set for 2:35 Monday afternoon.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: Following is a look at the pairings and schedule for the women's bracket at the 2011 Summit League Championship:
Saturday, March 5
• No. 1 Oral Roberts vs. No. 8 Western Illinois, 12:05 p.m. [Midco Sports Net/SummitTV]
• No. 2 IPFW vs. No. 7 UMKC, 2:35 p.m. [Midco Sports Net/SummitTV]
Sunday, March 6
• No. 4 Oakland vs. No. 5 Southern Utah, 12:05 p.m. [Midco Sports Net/SummitTV]
• No. 3 South Dakota State vs. No. 6 North Dakota State, 2:35 p.m. [Midco Sports Net/SummitTV]
Monday, March 7
• Oral Roberts-Western Illinois winner vs. Oakland-Southern Utah winner, 12:05 p.m. [Midco Sports Net/ESPN Full Court/ESPN3/SummitTV]
• IPFW-UMKC winner vs. South Dakota State-North Dakota State winner, 2:35 p.m. [Midco Sports Net/ESPN Full Court/ESPN3/SummitTV]
Tueday, March 8
• Championship Game, 3 p.m. [ESPNU/ESPN3]

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The Jackrabbits have made the most of their home-state advantage in the Summit League Championship, winning the tournament title in Sioux Falls each of the two years they have been eligible for NCAA postseason consideration.
SDSU is a perfect 6-0 in Summit League tournament games, claiming the 2009 title as the top seed and the 2010 championship as the third seed.
• Quarterfinals: def. No. 8 Oral Roberts, 77-49
• Semifinals: def. No. 4 IUPUI, 68-53
• Championship: def. No. 2 Oakland, 79-69
• Quarterfinals: def. No. 3 IPFW, 93-52
• Semifinals: def. No. 7 Western Illinois, 67-39
• Championship: def. No. 1 Oral Roberts, 79-75 [OT]

THE SERIES: Sunday's matchup will mark the 73rd meeting in women's basketball between North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Longtime rivals at the NCAA Division II level in the North Central Conference and now at the Division I level as members of The Summit League, NDSU holds a 38-34 series advantage.
The Jackrabbits have narrowed the gap considerably during the Division I era, holding an 11-3 advantage since the start of the 2004-05 season. SDSU won 10 consecutive meetings until NDSU recorded a 78-71 victory in the first meeting between the squads this season, Dec. 4 at Frost Arena.
The Bison ushered in the Division I era by sweeping the initial season series between the two squads as D-I foes during the 2004-05 season.

SEASON SERIES RECAPS: South Dakota State and North Dakota State split the regular season series, with each team winning on the other's home floor.
Dec. 4: North Dakota State 78, SDSU 71
The backcourt tandem of Danielle DeGagne and Katie Birkel combined for 45 points, lifting North Dakota State to a 78-71 victory over South Dakota State in the Summit League opener for both teams Dec. 4 at Frost Arena.
In ending a 10-game losing streak to SDSU, the Bison improved to 4-3 overall. The Jackrabbits, who suffered only their second home loss ever to a Summit League opponent, dropped to 3-4 overall.
After trading baskets and leads in the opening minutes, the final 10 minutes of the first half became a game of runs. The Bison grabbed a 20-13 lead behind the play of sophomore guard Danielle DeGagne, who scored 14 or her game-high 24 points in the first half. SDSU came right back with a 9-2 run, featuring five points from Macie Michelson to tie the game at 22.
NDSU, however, reeled off the next 12 points, bookended by three-pointers from Abby Plucker and Hannah Linz. Megan Waytashek ended the three-and-a-half-minute drought with a basket that helped spark a Jackrabbit run. SDSU scored six of the final seven points of the half to pull to within 39-34 at the break.
The Bison never relinquished the lead in the second half, although SDSU did tie game on one occasion. A DeGagne three-pointer with 8:30 to play in the game put NDSU back up by 10, 62-52.
Steph Paluch answered with a three-pointer to jump-start a 13-3 Jackrabbit run during which SDSU tied the game at 65-all as Kristin Rotert converted 1-of-2 free throws with 3:03 to play.
NDSU regained the lead for good its next trip down as Abby Plucker hit a jumper and went on to widen its lead back to 10 as the Jackrabbits missed six consecutive shot attempts in the closing minutes.
Birkel finished with 21 points for the Bison, who placed four players in double figures. Plucker tallied 15 and Hannah Linz added 12.
The Bison, who hovered around 60 percent shooting from the field most of the night, finished at 54.2 percent, making 26-of-48 attempts, including 7-of-14 from three-point range. At the line, NDSU made 19-of-26 tries, 73.1 percent.
SDSU was led by Jennie Sunnarborg, who scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field before fouling out. Michelson reached double figures for the first time this season with 13.
The Jackrabbits finished the night 26-of-61 from the field, 42.6 percent, but were only 6-of-23 from long range. SDSU ended the game 13-of-21 from the free throw line, 61.9 percent.
SDSU held a 35-28 rebounding advantage, with Leah Dietel tying a season high by pulling down a game-high nine boards. Plucker, Birkel and Janae Burich each grabbed six rebounds to lead the Bison.
SDSU 64, North Dakota State 51
Kristin Rotert posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and the South Dakota State University women's basketball team shot 65 percent in the second half en route to a 64-51 victory at North Dakota State Feb. 26 in the regular season finale for both teams.
SDSU notched its fifth consecutive victory and eighth in its last nine games to improve to 16-13 overall, 12-6 in The Summit League. The Bison fell to 13-15 overall, 9-9 in league play.
The Jackrabbits never trailed in the game as they all but assured themselves of their 25th consecutive winning season. With the game tied at 5-all, SDSU went on a 12-2 run over the next five minutes as five different players scored baskets.
NDSU got to within a basket at 19-17, but Jill Young stemmed the tied with her second three-pointer of the half from the left wing to start a 7-0 SDSU spurt. The Jackrabbits led 28-22 at the half.
In the second half, the Jackrabbits went up 35-25 on a Rotert basket at the 16:36 mark and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the night. A 7-0 spurt midway through the half, capped by a Macie Michelson jumper, gave SDSU its largest lead of the night at 53-35.
The Bison trimmed the margin back to 10 with four minutes to play but could get no closer.
Michelson and Jill Young each tallied 13 for the Jackrabbits, with Michelson tying a season high with six assists.
Overall, the Jackrabbits finished the game 27-of-55 from the field, 49.1 percent, including 5-of-14 from three-point range.
NDSU, which received a 17-point, 16-rebound performance from Abby Plucker, shot 20-of-52 from the floor, 38.5 percent, and also was 5-of-14 on long-range attempts. The Bison held a 34-33 rebounding advantage.
Neither team shot well from the line; SDSU was 5-of-10 while the Bison were 6-of-13 for 46.2 percent.

JACKRABBITS ONLINE: Audio coverage of Sunday'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.
Radio coverage begins at 2 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.
Streaming video will be available at TheSummitLeague.org. Fans can purchase individual games for $4.95, with a full tournament package of all games except the championships available for $19.95.

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.

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 59-13 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.
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.

SUMMIT LEAGUE HONORS: Kristin Rotert and Jennie Sunnarborg earned second-team honors and Jill Young received honorable mention recognition on the all-Summit League Women's Basketball Team which was announced Thursday.
A senior from Salem, Rotert moved to the second team after earning honorable mention honors the previous two seasons. Rotert averaged 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18 league games, posting a pair of double-doubles during the season. She also shot a team-best 47 percent from three-point range, making 39-of-83 attempts. Rotert has moved into the top 10 for career scoring at SDSU, entering this weekend's Summit League Championship in 10th place with 1,428 points.
Sunnarborg, a junior from Osseo, Minn., leads the team in scoring, turning in averages of 14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game during league play, while shooting a team-best 50.2 percent from the field. Sunnarborg tallied 20 or more points in four league contests.
Young earned honorable mention accolades after leading the Jackrabbits in three-pointers made during the regular season, canning 49 of her 72 treys so far this season in league games. A junior from Mitchell, Young averaged 12.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while shooting 43.8 percent (49-of-112) from behind the three-point arc and 84.4 percent (38-of-45) at the free throw line.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: During its current five-game winning streak, the Jackrabbit women's basketball team has been stingy on the defensive end. SDSU is allowing only 47.4 points per game over the last four contests, with the most allowed being 52 at Oakland on Feb. 19.
Also during the winning streak, Jackrabbit opponents have shot a combined 33.1 percent (90-of-272) from the field, including 19-of-75, 25.3 percent, from three-point range.
Overall in Summit League games, the Jackrabbits lead the league in field goal percentage defense (38.1 percent) and rank second in scoring defense (58.9 ppg).

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