Jacks return home to face NDSU
Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. at Frost Arena to conclude a basketball doubleheader. The Jackrabbit men's basketball team's nationally televised Sears BracketBusters game against Buffalo (N.Y.) opens the twinbill at noon.
The Jackrabbit women enter their lone game of the weekend withn 18-8 overall record, including a 13-2 mark in league play. SDSU had its nine-game winning streak snapped in a 59-53 overtime loss at South Dakota on Feb. 13, but maintains a two-game lead over Oral Roberts with three to play.
NDSU, meanwhile, has posted a 9-18 overall record this season, including a 6-9 mark in The Summit League. The Bison were swept on their road trip last week, falling 53-40 at South Dakota on Feb. 11 before dropping a 68-64 decision at UMKC two days later. NDSU is currently eighth in the Summit League standings but would hold the seventh seed for the postseason tournament to be played March 3-6 in Sioux Falls.
PLAY4KAY: Play 4Kay is an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Play 4Kay is named in honor of former North Carolina State women's basketball coach Kay Yow, who lost her 22-year battle with cancer in 2009.
The official charity is the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation and Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). During today's game, Brookings Health System will donate $50 for every Jackrabbit made three-pointer for breast cancer awareness initiatives.
For more information, log on to www.Play4Kay.org.
THE SERIES: Saturday's matchup will mark the 75th 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 38-36 series advantage.
The Jackrabbits have narrowed the gap considerably during the Division I era, holding a 13-3 advantage. 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. SDSU then won 10 consecutive meetings until NDSU recorded a 78-71 victory in the first meeting between the squads last season, Dec. 4, 2010, at Frost Arena.
FIRST MEETING: South Dakota State put together its most efficient offensive performance of the season, closing the first half of the Summit League season with a dominating 88-52 victory over North Dakota State Jan. 20 at the Bison Sports Arena in Fargo, N.D.
In posting their season-best fourth consecutive victory, the Jackrabbits improved to 13-7 overall and 8-1 in league play. NDSU dropped to 7-14 overall, 4-5 in The Summit League.
The Jackrabbits trailed only once the entire night, at 3-2 in the first minute of the game. With the game tied at 8-all, the Jackrabbits reeled off a 15-5 run to build a double-digit lead. Steph Paluch started the spurt with a three-pointer and Jennie Sunnarborg added all six of her first-half points.
SDSU increased its advantage to 20 points on two occasions later in the first half, the last at 40-20 on an Ashley Eide basket. Eide scored 14 first-half points to pace the Jackrabbits to a 42-26 halftime lead.
Although Jackrabbit post players Sunnarborg and Katie Lingle each picked up their third fouls in the first 63 seconds of the second half, SDSU was able to build the lead back to 20 points, 50-30, by the first under-16 break.
SDSU continued to add to its lead throughout the night with production from up and down its lineup. Jackrabbit reserves accounted for 27 points, including a career-high 10 points from Rachel Walters and eight from Mariah Clarin. Walters was 3-for-5 from three-point range to lead the Jackrabbits 10-of-16 effort from behind the arc.
Eide, who earned team MVP honors in the annual Katherine Bergum Classic, led the Jackrabbits with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Sunnarborg finished with 17 points in 15 minutes, with Paluch rounding out SDSU's double-figure scorers with 10.
The Jackrabbits ended the game 29-of-51 from the field, 56.9 percent, and 20-of-29 at the line, 69 percent. SDSU also held a 40-33 rebounding advantage, with Eide recording a game-high seven boards. The junior from Sioux Falls also contributed three assists and three steals.
NDSU finished the night 19-of-59 from the field, 32.2 percent, including 2-for-12 from three-point range. At the line, the Bison were 12-of-17, 70.6 percent.
Janae Burich led the Bison with 12 points, with Danielle Muri adding 10 points and a team-high six rebounds.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Audio and video 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.
A pay-per-view option for video streaming also is available through the Jackrabbit Extra for $4.95.
Local radio coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Central Time on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, with J.J. Hartigan calling the play-by-play. Besides network flagship WNAX 570 AM, the game can be heard on the following Jackrabbit Sports Network affiliates:
* KJJQ 910 AM-Brookings
* KRKI 99.1 FM-Rapid City
* KGFX 1060 AM-Pierre
* KSDR 1480 AM-Watertown
JACKRABBIT INSIDER: Throughout the 2011-12 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 8 p.m. Tuesdays and on FOX College Sports Central at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Online, the show can be viewed at GoJacks.com.
RECEIVING VOTES TO RANKED: South Dakota State received votes in two different national
preseason polls. The Jackrabbits received three votes in the Nov. 15 ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, and tallied 27 points in the Women's Mid-Major Top 25 poll conducted by collegeinsider.com.
For the first time this season, the Jackrabbits moved into the top 25 of the mid-major poll, which is sprinkled with SDSU opponents. In the Feb. 14 poll, the Jackrabbits held the 24th spot. Middle Tennessee State checked in at No. 7 and Marist (N.Y.) is ranked 17th. Preseason Summit League favorite Oral Roberts dropped out of the top 25, but is still receiving votes.
810 AND COUNTING: SDSU's victory over Oakland on Dec. 29 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 810-366 (.689 winning percentage).
In addition, SDSU has sealed its 26th consecutive winning season between competing at the NCAA Division II and Divsion I levels.The Jackrabbits' last losing season was an 11-16 campaign during the 1985-86 season.
160 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 seven-plus seasons competing at the Division I level, SDSU has compiled a 160-65 mark (.711 winning percentage) versus D-I opposition. The Jackrabbits have posted
victories over 54 different Division I teams representing 20 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, Johnston has led the Jackrabbits to a 146-22 record (.869 winning percentage) at Frost Arena, including a 91-13 mark (.875 winning pct.) at home during the Division I era. The Jackrabbits have put together home winning streaks of 15, 15 and 22 in the process. Their current home winning streak is seven.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, SDSU has a 135-17 home record (.888 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.
FEASTING IN FEBRUARY: The Jackrabbits have made a habit of ending the regular season strong throughout their time in Division I. In its eight-year history of competing at the Division I level, SDSU has compiled a 47-5 record in February. That record included a 26-game winning streak in February that ended Feb. 22, 2010, at Oakland.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: The Jackrabbits enter the week as the top rebounding team in The Summit League, out-rebounding their opponents by 6.1 boards per game overall and 8.1 per league contest.
The Jackrabbits had their streak of holding a rebounding advantage end at seven games in the Dec. 21 loss at Nebraska, but again controlled the boards in their Dec. 29 matchup against Oakland. Overall, the Jackrabbits have out-rebounded their opponents in 20 of their 26 games this season, posting a 16-4 record when winning the battle of the boards.
The Jackrabbits have held a double-digit rebounding advantage eight times this season, including each of their first four Summit League games. SDSU put together a dominating 46-22 advantage against Western Illinois on Nov. 30 and held a 41-27 edge versus Oakland in their Dec. 29 matchup.
TOEING THE LINE: Despite some struggles early in the season at the free throw line, the Jackrabbits have been one of the most efficient teams at the stripe during Summit League play.
In 15 league games, SDSU ranks second among the league's 10 teams by shooting 76.8 percent (251-of-327) at the free throw line, starting with a 9-for-9 effort Nov. 30 at Western Illinois. The Jacks have shot above 80 percent in seven games, including a 23-of-25 (92 percent) effort at IPFW on Jan. 28, during which they started a string of 27 consecutive made free throws. SDSU also leads The Summit League in made free throws and second in free throw attempts during league play.
The Jackrabbits set a single-game school record with 48 free throw attempts in their Jan. 14 game against UMKC. The team's 34 makes were two off the school mark. In the rematch versus UMKC, SDSU made 23-of-24 free throws tries in the second half and finished the game 29-of-33 overall, 87.9 percent.
Individually Jill Young is shooting 86.4 percent (38-of-44) from the stripe in league games, while Jennie Sunnarborg is at 79.4 percent (85-of-107).
BENCH POINTS: South Dakota State reserves have played a key role in the Jackrabbits sporting an 18-8 record this season. A relatively young and inexperienced Jackrabbit bench has outscored the opponent's reserves in 18 games this season, including holding a 188-69 combined advantage over the last seven games. Overall, the Jackrabbits have outscored opposing reserves by 156 points, 467-311, thus far during the 2011-12 season.
Since moving into a reserve role at the close of the calendar year, junior center Katie Lingle has held at least a share of the team lead in bench points in six of the last 1q contests, including a 10-point outing Jan. 28 at IPFW.
Freshman wing Rachel Walters held at least a share of the top output off the bench for the third time in four games and seventh time this season with nine points in the Feb. 4 win over Southern Utah. Walters reached double figures for the first time in the Jan. 20 win at North Dakota State, scoring 10 points as she sank three trifectas. Walters set a career high with 12 points - all on three-pointers - in the Jackrabbits' Jan. 30 win at Oakland.
DOUBLE DUTY: For only the second time in the Division I era, two Jackrabbit players turned in double-double performances in the same game.
Jennie Sunnarborg and Ashley Eide accomplished the feat Feb. 11 in a victory at UMKC. Sunnarborg tallied 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, while Eide posted totals of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Sunnarborg also had a hand in the initial double-double tandem. In a Jan. 23, 2010, win over Oakland, Sunnarborg collected 20 points and 11 rebounds. Maria Boever was the other half of the duo with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
In all, four different Jackrabbit players have posted double-doubles this season. Katie Lingle was the first SDSU player to turn in a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against IPFW on Dec. 31, while Jill Young tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds versus Oral Roberts on Feb. 6.
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 72-15 record (.828 winning percentage) 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 36-5 at home (.878 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 first-year member South Dakota.
YOUNG REACHES MILESTONES: Senior guard Jill Young has reached a pair of milestones during the 2011-12 season.
The Mitchell native became the 30th member of the Jackrabbit Women's Basketball 1,000-Point Club when she sank a first-half three-pointer during South Dakota State's win over Washington State on Nov. 20.
Young enters Saturday's game against North Dakota State in 21st place on the Jackrabbit career scoring chart with 1,262 points, after passing both Ann Just (1,227 points from 1993-96) and Lora Kluis (1,235 points from 1996-99) in the Feb. 6 win over Oral Roberts. Next on the list is Jodi Bergemann, who scored 1,270 points from 1991-94.
Young has been a top-notch long range shooter throughout her collegiate career and has set a new Jackrabbit standard with 284 career three-pointers, breaking the previous record of 250 held by both Brenda Davis (2001-04) and Kristin Rotert (2008-11) in the Dec. 29 game against Oakland. Her 284 three-pointers also rank as the second-most all-time in Summit League history as Young trails current IPFW standout Anne Boese (287 three-pointers).
Through the first 26 games of the season, Young leads the squad with 62 three-pointers. She tied a career high with seven three-pointers in the Nov. 11 season opener against St. Cloud State. In the 11 games since setting the new Jackrabbit standard Dec. 29 against Oakland, Young is a combined 31-for-69 (44.9 percent) from long distance. She made 6-of-11 attempts in a Dec. 31 home game versus IPFW, then went
4-of-9 Jan. 7 at Oral Roberts and 5-of-10 at Southern Utah two days later.
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.
For her career, Young is shooting 40.9 percent from three-point range, 284-of-694, including a team-best 78-of-188 - 41.4 percent - last season to rank 21st nationally for three-point percentage.
Young also has been an 82.8 percent (222-of-268) career shooter from the free throw line. She has shot well above her career average this season, making 89.3 percent (67-of-75) of her attempts.
SUNNY SIDE UP: Senior forward Jennie Sunnarborg has led the Jackrabbits in scoring throughout much of the 2011-12 season. A native of Osseo, Minn., Sunnarborg has upped her scoring average to a team-best 13.8 points per game after averaging 16.5 points per game in Summit League play. She is shooting 79.2 percent (118-of-149) overall from the free throw line, ranking 11th on the SDSU charts for single-season free throws.
Sunnarborg also is contributing a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game after setting a single-game career high with 13 boards at UMKC on Feb. 11 and again Feb. 13 at South Dakota.
On the career charts, Sunnarborg became the 31st player in Jackrabbit women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point mark, accomplishing the feat Jan. 14 against UMKC with a career-high 31 points. She enters the week with 1,116 career points, passing former teammate Ketty Cornemann (1,042 points from 2007-10) for 29th place in the Jan. 20 game at North Dakota State. Dawn Hull is 28th on the career scoring list with 1,125 points from 2003-06.
Sunnarborg also has moved into sole possession of sixth place in career blocked shots at South Dakota State with 107, passing former teammate Jennifer Warkenthien (105 blocked shots from 2006-09) Feb. 11 at UMKC.
In 15 Summit League games, Sunnarborg is averaging 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest, while shooting 47 percent (79-of-168) from the field. Prior to her career night against UMKC on Jan. 14, Sunnarborg recorded a pair of season-high 23-point outings. In a Dec. 2 victory at IUPUI, Sunnarborg scored 23 points and added five rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. On Jan. 7, Sunnarborg again tallied 23 points, including a perfect 9-for-9 performance at the free throw line. Two days later, at Southern Utah, Sunnarborg tallied a game-high 22 points. Her performance in the first meeting with UMKC marked the seventh time this season and 16th time in her career she reached the 20-point mark.
Sunnarborg also compiled a 22-point, four-rebound performance against Washington State on Nov. 20, in which she made the go-ahead basket with 1:05 remaining in the game. She also was 12-for-14 at the free throw line in the Jackrabbit victory.
Sunnarborg broke out of a four-game slump with a 20-point, seven-rebound performance against nationally ranked Nebraska on Dec. 21, followed by a 21-point, six-rebound night against Oakland on Dec. 29.
A LOOK AHEAD: SDSU closes out the regular season portion of its schedule with two more home games next week.
The Jackrabbits will take on IUPUI in the front half of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 25. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m., with the men's game to follow at 7:30 p.m. SDSU will then take on Western Illinois at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27. Seniors Jennie Sunnarborg and Jill Young will be honored prior to the game.