Games against at least four fellow NCAA Tournament qualifiers, along with a minimum of 14 home games, await the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team during the 2010-11 season.
"This will certainly be another exciting and challenging schedule for us,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said. “Although we continue a few contracts with familiar programs, we were also able to establish some new home-and-home agreements with first-time opponents.”
SDSU made its fourth consecutive appearance in a Division I postseason tournament during the 2009-10 season, finishing with a 22-11 overall record in earning its second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament by repeating as Summit League postseason tournament champion. The Jackrabbits made back-to-back appearances in the Women’s NIT postseason event in 2007 and 2008 as it completed its transition from NCAA Division II.
As announced earlier, the Jackrabbits will open the regular season by hosting Utah Valley in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT Nov. 12 at Frost Arena. SDSU is guaranteed to play three games in the 16-team tournament, and will host at least two games in the two-week event.
“The Preseason WNIT is a great opportunity for our program and we are anxious to get the season started with a home game in that event,” Johnston said. “I know our team is excited to get things going.”
The Jackrabbits close the opening month with a Nov. 24 home matchup with Illinois State, followed by road games at Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 28 and Kansas State on Nov. 30.
Illinois State won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title and advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT postseason tournament, finishing the campaign with a 28-8 overall record.
The matchup with Middle Tennessee marks the continuation of rivalry between two top mid-major programs. SDSU holds a 3-1 series advantage following a convincing 87-61 victory in Brookings last December. The Blue Raiders went on to post a 25-6 record in the 2009-10 season, making a return trip to the NCAA Tournament before bowing out in the first round to Mississippi State.
Kansas State historically has been a top team in the Big 12 Conference, but struggled to a 14-18 record during a rebuilding 2009-10 season.
Summit League play begins Dec 4, when the Jackrabbits are scheduled to host North Dakota State as part of a doubleheader at Frost Arena. SDSU has won 10 consecutive games against the rival Bison, dating back to the 2005-06 season.
The remainder of the pre-holiday slate consists of five non-conference games, highlighted by home matchups against Arizona State on Dec. 16 and Iowa on Dec. 18. Arizona State reached the second round of the WNIT as part of an 18-14 2009-10 season, while Iowa turned in a 20-14 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
SDSU also has road games scheduled for Dec. 7 at Washington State (8-22 record in 2009-10) and Dec. 11 at NCAA Tournament qualifier Northern Iowa (17-16 overall). A Dec. 20 trip to Utah State (13-17 overall) rounds out the pre-holiday schedule.
Summit League action resumes with games at Southern Utah on Dec. 29 and at UMKC on Dec. 31. UMKC, which was one of three league teams to defeat SDSU last season, ended last season with a 16-16 overall record and played in the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitational postseason tournament.
SDSU will ring in 2011 with its final non-conference game of the season Jan. 4 at Arkansas-Little Rock. UALR finished the 2009-10 season with a 27-7 overall and joined the Jackrabbits in Norman, Okla., at the NCAA Tournament. After defeating Georgia Tech in the opening round, the Trojans lost to host Oklahoma in second-round action.
Of the Jackrabbits’ non-conference opponents, Kansas State, Washington State and UALR have committed to complete home-and-home agreements during the 2011-12 season.
The Summit League schedule takes center stage for the remainder of the season, starting with a Jan. 8 tilt against Oral Roberts in a rematch of the Summit League championship game. The Golden Eagles won the regular season title before finishing the 2009-10 season with a 23-10 record and a WNIT appearance. The brief homestand concludes Jan. 10 against Centenary.
SDSU will host a four-game homestand to close out January. IPFW comes to town for a Jan. 22 matchup, followed by a game against perennial league contender Oakland on Jan. 24. The next weekend, the Jackrabbits will host Southern Utah on Jan. 29 and UMKC on Jan. 31.
All Saturday games during the Summit League season will begin at 5 p.m. as part of doubleheaders with the men’s team. Monday-night home games are set for 7 p.m. tipoffs.
For the third consecutive season, the Summit League Basketball Championship will be played in Sioux Falls. The 2011 tournament is scheduled for March 5-8 at the Sioux Falls Arena.
In addition, the Jackrabbits will host exhibition games against St. Cloud State (Minn.) on Oct. 31 and Bemidji State (Minn.) on Nov. 4.
Click to view the 2010-11 women's basketball schedule.