Jackrabbits open Summit with IPFW
The South Dakota State University women's basketball team begins its quest for a fourth consecutive Summit League tournament title as it opens the 2012 Summit League Basketball Championship Saturday afternoon against IPFW.
Tipoff is slated for 12:05 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The Jackrabbits enter the tournament as the top seed after winning the regular season league title with a 16-2 mark - two games better than Oral Roberts. SDSU is 21-8 overall after winning 12 of its last 13 games.
IPFW, meanwhile, has posted a 9-20 overall record during the 2011-12 campaign. The eighth-seeded Mastodons were 6-12 in league play.
The winner of Saturday's game will play in semifinal action at noon Monday, March 5 against the winner of Sunday's game between fourth-seeded North Dakota State and fifth-seeded IUPUI.
SDSU and IPFW will be meeting in the Summit League Basketball Championship for the third consecutive year. The Jackrabbits have claimed both previous tournament meetings, winning 93-52 in the opening round of the 2010 championship, followed by a
narrow, 70-67 victory in the 2011 semifinals.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: Following is a look at the pairings and schedule for women's bracket of the 2012 Summit League Championship:
Saturday, March 3
• No. 1 South Dakota State vs. No. 8 IPFW, 12:05 p.m.
• No. 2 Oral Roberts vs. No. 7 Western Illinois, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 4
• No. 4 North Dakota State vs. No. 5 IUPUI, 12:05 p.m.
• No. 3 UMKC vs. No. 6 Oakland, 2:30 p.m.
Monday, March 5
• SDSU-IPFW winner vs. NDSU-IUPUI winner, 12:05 p.m.
• ORU-WIU winner vs. UMKC-OU winner, 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6
• Championship Game, 3 p.m.
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 three years they have been eligible for NCAA postseason consideration.
SDSU is a perfect 9-0 in Summit League tournament games, claiming the 2009 title as the top seed and both the 2010 and 2011 championships 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. 6 IPFW, 93-52
• Semifinals: def. No. 7 Western Illinois, 67-39
• Championship: def. No. 1 Oral Roberts, 79-75 [OT]
• Quarterfinals: def. No. 6 North Dakota State, 62-51
• Semifinals: def. No. 2 IPFW, 70-67
• Championship: def. No. 4 Oakland, 61-54
MEDIA COVERAGE: For the first time in tournament history, all games of the Summit League Basketball Championship will be nationally televised.
Fox College Sports Central will air all men's and women's quarterfinal and semifinal games live. Midco Sports Network, based in Sioux Falls, will provide the game feed, as well as broadcast the games on its cable systems in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The 2012 Summit League women's championship game will be broadcast on ESPNU, with the men's championship on ESPN2.
Video streaming for the first three days of the tournament also is available via subscription service through the Summit League at www.thesummitleague.org. Tuesday's championship games will be streamed on ESPN3.com.
Local radio coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. Central Time Saturday 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
THE SERIES: South Dakota State has dominated the all-time series against IPFW, holding a 16-1 advantage since the two programs first met during the 2004-05 season.
The Jackrabbits won each of the first 12 meetings before IPFW cracked the win column with a 70-67 overtime victory on Jan. 22, 2011, at Frost Arena. Kayla Drake nearly recorded a triple-double for the Mastodons, tallying game highs of 27 points and 10 steals to go along with eight rebounds. Kristin Rotert and Macie Michelson led SDSU with 15 points each.
All three meetings during the 2010-11 season were decided by three points.
HEAD-TO-HEAD RECAPS: South Dakota State recorded a pair of double-figure
victories in the 2011-12 regular season series with IPFW.
First Meeting: SDSU 81, IPFW 58
Reserve center Katie Lingle posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and three other Jackrabbits scored in double figures as South Dakota State defeated IPFW, 81-58, Dec. 31 at Frost Arena.
SDSU broke out to a 16-4 lead as four different players connected on three-pointers in the first five minutes of the contest. The Mastodons inched back to within six points midway through the half, but the Jackrabbits' Hannah Strop and Jill Young hit back-to-back three-pointers as part of a 14-3 run to put SDSU up 37-20 with 6 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Jackrabbits led 46-30 at intermission on the strength of 7-of-16 shooting from long distance.
In the second half, the Jackrabbits extended the lead to 18 points, 52-34, on a Lingle putback four minutes into the second stanza before IPFW put together one last run. Mastodon sharpshooter Anne Boese nailed a pair of three-pointers and added another basket to trim the margin to nine points, 60-51, with 8:24 to play.
Young and the Jackrabbits quickly slammed the door shut. The Mitchell native added to her SDSU career three-point record with a flurry of four treys over the next five-plus minutes in what resembled a personal game of around the world - one from the top of the key, two from the right side and one from the left wing - to lead the decisive 18-2 run.
Young ended the afternoon with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Jennie Sunnarborg tallied 16 points, while Ashley Eide narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Overall, SDSU held a 50-35 advantage on the boards, including 18 on the offensive glass.
The Jackrabbits finished the game 26-of-65 from the field, 40 percent, including 11-of-28 from three-point range. SDSU made 18-of-22 free throw attempts, 81.8 percent.
Boese led IPFW with 13 points, while Stephanie Rosado tallied 10 points and nine rebounds. The Mastodons were 20-of-61 from the field, 32.8 percent, including an 8-of-27 effort from three-point range. At the line, IPFW converted 10-of-13 attempts, 76.9 percent.
Second Meeting: SDSU 76, IPFW 66
Jennie Sunnarborg and Jill Young each scored 15 points to lead the South Dakota State University women's basketball team to a 76-66 victory over IPFW on Jan. 28 in Fort Wayne, Ind.
SDSU led by as many as seven points, 17-10, midway through the first half before the Mastodons grabbed a momentary three-point lead at 26-23 with a little more than three minutes to play. The Jackrabbits closed the half with an 11-4 run behind seven free throws by Sunnarborg and a basket by Ashley Eide with less than a second remaining to go up 34-30 at intermission.
IPFW pulled even at 36-all less than two minutes into the second half, but could not wrest the lead away from the Jackrabbits, who opened a six-point lead, 47-41, on an Eide three-pointer at the 13:53 mark. Eide finished the game with 11 points.
An Eide basket at the 8:53 mark gave SDSU its first double-digit lead of the afternoon and IPFW could get no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Once again, the Jackrabbits received production up and down their lineup as their reserves combined to score 24 points, compared to five by the Mastodon bench. Katie Lingle led the Jackrabbit bench with 10 points.
SDSU shot 61 percent from the field in the second half to finish the game 24-of-50 overall, 48 percent, including 5-fo-16 from three-point range.
The Mastodons received a game-high 21 points from Stephanie Rosado, followed by 14 points from Amanda Hyde and 10 from Sarah Haluska. IPFW made 21-of-57 shots from the field, 36.8 percent, but was only 5-of-24 from behind the arc.
The two teams combined to miss only two free throws the entire contest. IPFW was a perfect 19-for-19 from the line, while the Jackrabbits converted 23-of-25 attempts, 92 percent.
SDSU finished with a 34-30 rebounding advantage, led by Sunnarborg and Young with six boards each. Haluska and Hyde each tallied six rebounds to lead the Mastodons.
MID-MAJOR RANKINGS: 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 third week in a row, the Jackrabbits are ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, moving up two spots to No. 22. Among Jackrabbit opponents in the Feb. 28 poll, Middle Tennessee State reamained sixth, while and Marist (N.Y.) rose one spot to No. 14. Preseason Summit League favorite Oral Roberts, which dropped out of the top 25 two weeks ago, is still receiving votes, as is South Dakota.
ALL-LEAGUE PERFORMERS: South Dakota State's Jennie Sunnarborg earned first-team honors and Ashley Eide and Jill Young each received second-team recognition on the All-Summit League Women's Basketball Team, which was announced by league officials Thursday afternoon.
In addition, Jackrabbit mentor Aaron Johnston was named Summit League Coach of the Year after leading South Dakota State to the regular season title. Voting for the league awards was compiled from votes by the league's 10 head coaches, sports information directors and select media members.
A senior forward from Osseo, Minn., Sunnarborg averaged team bests of 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 18 league games, while shooting 51.5 percent from the field. For the season, Sunnarborg is averaging 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. She was a second-team all-Summit League honoree a season ago.
Joining Sunnarborg on the first team were guards Dayon Hall-Jones of UMKC and Kevi Luper of Oral Roberts, as well as forwards Amber Hegge, South Dakota; Kerah Nelson, IUPUI, and Bethany Watterworth, Oakland. Luper was named Summit League Player of the Year for the third consecutive year.
Young, a senior guard from Mitchell, moved to the second team after receiving honorable mention honors in 2011. She ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.0 points per game overall, including an average of 13.1 points per game in league play. She holds the SDSU career record with 292 three-pointers and shot 43.1 percent from behind the arc in league games.
A junior guard from Sioux Falls, Eide moved into the starting lineup this season and has contributed averages of 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and a team-best 49.1 field goal percentage.
Rounding out the second team were North Dakota State center Janae Burich, IPFW forward Stephanie Rosado and Western Illinois forward Sadie Webb.
Johnston earned Summit League Coach of the Year honors for the third time after guiding SDSU to a 16-2 mark in league play and a 21-8 overall record heading into this weekend's Summit League Basketball Championship. Johnston is the Summit League career leader in both overall (.728) and league (.830) career winning percentage.
The Jackrabbits open the Summit League Basketball Championship at noon Saturday against eighth-seeded IPFW.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: South Dakota State forward Jennie Sunnarborg has been named Summit League Player of the Week for her performances in Jackrabbit victories over IUPUI and Western Illinois to close out the regular season.
For the week, Sunnarborg averaged 21.5 points and five rebounds per game, shooting 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the field, including a perfect-4-for-4 from three-point range. She also made all nine free throw attempts and contributed 2.5 assists per game, while playing only 25 minutes per night.
In the Jackrabbits' victory over IUPUI on Feb. 25, Sunnarborg scored 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including 3-for-3 from long distance. In her final regular season appearance at Frost Arena, Feb. 27 against Western Illinois, the Osseo, Minn., native tallied 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor.
Sunnarborg has tallied 20 points in a game nine times this season and 18 times in her career.
812 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 812-366 (.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 162-65 mark (.714 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 148-22 record (.871 winning percentage) at Frost Arena, including a 93-13 mark (.877 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 nine.
Since the start of the 2001-02 season, SDSU has a 137-17 home record (.890 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 50-5 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 7.1 boards per game overall and 9.3 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 23 of their 29 games this season, posting a 19-4 record when winning the battle of the boards.
The Jackrabbits have held a double-digit rebounding advantage 10 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 were one of the most efficient teams at the stripe during Summit League play.
In 18 league games, SDSU ranked third among the league's 10 teams by shooting 76.3 percent (296-of-388) at the free throw line, starting with a 9-for-9 effort Nov. 30 at Western Illinois. The Jacks shot above 80 percent in eight games, including 23-of-25 (92 percent) efforts at IPFW on Jan. 28, during which they started a string of 27 consecutive made free throws, and again on Feb. 25 versus IUPUI. SDSU ranked first in both made free throws and 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
Feb. 11 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 shot 88.0 percent (44-of-50) from the stripe in league games, while Jennie Sunnarborg finished at 81.4 percent (96-of-118).
BENCH POINTS: South Dakota State reserves have played a key role in the Jackrabbits sporting a 21-8 record this season. A relatively young and inexperienced Jackrabbit bench has outscored the opponent's reserves in 21 games this season, including holding a 259-114 combined advantage over the last 11 games. Overall, the Jackrabbits have outscored opposing reserves by 192 points, 548-356, 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 eight of the last 15 contests, including a 13-point outing Feb. 25 against IUPUI.
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 75-15 record (.833 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 40-5 at home (.889 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 IPFW in 18th place on the Jackrabbit career scoring chart with 1,302 points, after passing both Carleen Rose (1,281 points from 1990-93) and Erin Reiten (1,281 points from 1993-96) in the Feb. 25 game versus IUPUI. Next on the list is Pat Dobratz, who scored 1,334 points from 1971-74.
Young has been a top-notch long range shooter throughout her collegiate career and has set a new Jackrabbit standard with 292 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 292 three-pointers also rank as the second-most all-time in Summit League history as Young trails current IPFW standout Anne Boese (300 three-pointers).
Through the first 29 games of the season, Young leads the squad with 70 three-pointers and ranked 22nd nationally in three-point percentage at 39.5 percent (70-of-175). She tied a career high with seven three-pointers in the Nov. 11 season opener against St. Cloud State. In the 12 games since setting the new Jackrabbit standard Dec. 29 against Oakland, Young is a combined 39-for-87 (44.8 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 41 percent from three-point range, 292-of-712, 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 83.2 percent (228-of-274) career shooter from the free throw line. She has shot well above her career average this season, making 90.1 percent (73-of-81) 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 14.4 points per game after averaging 17.1 points per game in Summit League play. She is shooting 80.6 percent (129-of-160) overall from the free throw line, ranking in a tie for eighth on the SDSU charts for single-season free throws.
Sunnarborg also is contributing a team-best 6.2 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 1,176 career points, good for 25th place on the Jackrabbit career scoring charts.
Sunnarborg also has moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in career blocked shots at South Dakota State with 108, equaling the career totals of Lora Kluis (1994-97) and Sarita DeBoer (2002-05).
In 17 Summit League games, Sunnarborg averaged 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest, while shooting 51.5 percent (100-of-193) 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 23-point performance on 9-of-10 shooting from the field in the Feb. 27 win over Western Illinois marked the ninth time this season and 18th 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.
EIDE ON THE MARK: Junior guard Ashley Eide has put together a strong season for the Jackrabbit women's basketball team, leading the team in field goal percentage (49.8 percent), ranking second in assists (66), steals (34), three-pointers (27) and rebounding (4.8 rpg), and third in scoring (11.0 ppg).
Eide was named Summit League Player of the Week following her 21-point, five-rebound performance at nationally ranked Nebraska on Dec. 21. She was 9-of-14 from the field, including 3-for-3 from three-point range. Eide added two assists and two steals in 30 minutes of action.
She tallied double figures for the fifth consecutive game with 12 points in the Dec. 31 win over IPFW. Eide made a pair of three-pointers, while adding nine rebounds and a career-high seven assists. On Jan. 20 at North Dakota State, Eide turned in another strong all-around performance, tallying game highs of 20 points and seven rebounds, while adding three assists and three steals.
The Sioux Falls native was impressive in the season opening weekend, tying a career high with six assists in the season-opening win over St. Cloud State on Nov. 11, then pouring in a career-high 27 points with eight rebounds in the Jackrabbits' victory over Utah State. Eide did not miss a two-point shot in the two games, going a combined 11-for-11. She also was 3-of-8 on three-point attempts to finish the weekend 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) overall from the field.
Eide continued her strong play by averaging 11 points and 3.5 rebounds during the opening week of Summit League play. She scored nine points at Western Illinois on Nov. 30, then went 5-of-7 from the field en route to 13 points in the Dec. 2 victory at IUPUI.
PALUCH IN A NEW ROLE: After handling the bulk of the point guard duties for the Jackrabbits through the first half of the 2011-12 season, junior Steph Paluch has played at her more natural two-guard position the last seven games.
A Pierre native, Paluch leads the team with 40 steals (1.38 spg) and 73 assists (2.52 apg), including recording a career-high eight assists in SDSU's 63-58 win over Washington State on Nov. 20. Paluch also has contributed averages of 6.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Her five steals Dec. 2 at IUPUI established a new career high and are the most by a Jackrabbit player this season.
Paluch tallied career highs of 18 points, five rebounds and four three-pointers in the Jackrabbits' victory over North Dakota State on Feb. 18. She had her streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer end at nine games in the Feb. 25 contest against IUPUI - a span in which she had shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from behind the arc.
OPENING SUCCESS: The Jackrabbits' 74-35 victory over St. Cloud State in the 2011-12 season opener at Frost Arena on Nov. 11 marked the 19th consecutive season SDSU opened with a win.
The last time the Jackrabbits lost a season opener was during the 1992-93 season, when they fell 74-72 to Moorhead State (Minn.).
NEW LOWS: The Jackrabbits' 22 points in a loss to Cincinnati on Nov. 24 was by far the lowest point total by an SDSU squad during the Division I era and the lowest with a shot clock in use. The previous low was 40 points - also in a 33-point loss - at Purdue (Ind.) on Nov. 18, 2010, in the semifinals of the Preseason Women's NIT.
Overall, the 22 points were the third fewest in a game in school history. Ironically, the Jackrabbits won both of the games in which they scored fewer points: an 18-14 decision over Buena Vista (Iowa) during the inaugural 1966-67 season and a 19-6 victory over Huron during the 1967-68 campaign.
Against Kansas State on Dec. 10, the Jackrabbits could muster a shooting percentage of only 21.6 percent - their worst shooting performance in the Division I era. SDSU missed its first 16 shots from the field and finished the first half 2-of-25 from the floor.
COACH AARON JOHNSTON: Now in his 12th full 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 game against IPFW with a career record of 287-98 (.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 75-15 record (.833 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games and a 16-7 mark (.696 winning percentage) in NCAA or WNIT postseason games. He is 16-1 against Western Illinois.
The Summit League Coach of the Year in each of the Jackrabbits' first two seasons in the 10-team league, Johnston was named a finalist for the 2009 Naismith Award as the nation's top coach. SDSU tied a school record for victories in a season with 32 during the 2008-09 campaign and gained national attention by vaulting into the top 25 in December after non-conference victories over the likes of Wisconsin, Utah, Minnesota and Gonzaga (Wash.). The Jackrabbits were ranked in the final 13 USA Today/ESPN regular season coaches' polls, climbing as high as 14th in the coaches' poll and 16th in the Associated Press poll. SDSU finished the 2008-09 season ranked 19th in the coaches' poll.
Along the way to a 32-3 overall record, the Jackrabbits received national media coverage from CBS Sports, USA Today, ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times.
A native of Pine Island, Minn., “A.J.” earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. After serving one year as an assistant coach at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, he moved on to SDSU as a graduate assistant for the Jackrabbit men’s basketball team for two seasons before becoming assistant women’s coach. He also coached the SDSU golf teams one year.
ACADEMIC SUCCESS: The South Dakota State women’s basketball team continued to make the grade during the 2010-11 season.
For the fourth time in its six-year history at the Division I level, the Jackrabbits posted the highest grade-point average in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Academic Top 25 Honor Roll, topping the chart with a 3.666 team GPA. Overall, SDSU ranked second across all divisions of women’s college basketball.
Individually, 11 Jackrabbit women’s basketball players were honored on the all-Summit League Academic Team.
To be honored on the Academic All-Summit League Team, student-athletes must have a 3.0 or better grade-point average in the semester of their championship event and must use a year of eligibility. Student-athletes are recognized as a Distinguished Scholar by compiling a 3.6 GPA or higher, with nine Jackrabbit players earning that distinction.
Overall, Jackrabbit student-athletes garnered a conference-best 148 Academic All-Summit League awards during the spring semester.
In addition, eight Jackrabbits players were honored on the Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence by The Summit League. With the eight selections — 64 percent of the squad — the Jackrabbits were honored with a Team Academic Achievement Award.
In order for a student-athlete to be selected to the Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence, he or she must carry at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average, achieve sophomore academic standing at the institution, have used a year of eligibility and be on the squad list in the sport in which he or she is nominated. Transfers, graduate students and junior college graduates must have completed one academic year at the nominating institution. True freshmen, redshirt freshmen and first-year transfers are not eligible for the award.
EIDE NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN: South Dakota State guard Ashley Eide was named earlier this week to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team, as selected by College Sports Information Directors of America.
A junior from Sioux Falls, Eide earned a spot on the honor squad with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while majoring in health, physical education and recreation. Earlier this month, Eide was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team for the second year in a row.
Eide is the sixth Jackrabbit women’s basketball player to receive Academic All-America recognition during the program’s history, joining: Tara Tessier (first team, 1988); Laurie (Bruns) Kruse (second team, 1991); Jodi Bergemann (third team, 1994); Megan Vogel (second team, 2007), and Jennifer Warkenthien (second team, 2009).
THE ROSTER: The 2011-12 SDSU women’s basketball roster features 13 players from two different states. Of the 13 players, seven are from Minnesota and six are from South Dakota. By class, two are seniors, four are juniors, three are sophomores, one is a redshirt freshman and three are incoming freshmen.
A LOOK AHEAD: Should the Jackrabbits win Saturday, they will face the winner of the game between North Dakota State and IUPUI at 12:05 p.m. Monday.
If the Jackrabbits lose Saturday, they will await WNIT pairings, which will be announced on Monday, March 12.