WNIT Preview: South Dakota State Hosts Colorado
‘Tis the season for quick turn arounds and uncertainty about opponents, but it’s part of what makes the WNIT so exciting.
For the South Dakota State women’s basketball team, it’s about taking care of business and then discovering the next challenge.
After an opening round win over Northern Illinois, Thursday (March 16), the Jackrabbits will welcome Colorado for a round two match-up, Sunday (March 19, in Brookings.
The Buffaloes (16-15) out of the ultra-competitive Pac-12, beat UNLV in round one, thanks to a defense that is among the best in the nation. Colorado forced 18 turnovers in the win, 11 of those coming in steals.
On the season, CU is in the top ten in the nation in steals, and in the top 20 in turnover margin. Two players – Kennedy Leonard and Alexis Robinson – have nearly 200 steals between them.
Offensively against UNLV, the Buffs rebounded from scoring just eight points in the first quarter to putting up 39 points in the second half on 54 percent shooting. Kennedy had 17 of her game high 23 points in the second 20 minutes.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Sunday (March 19), at Frost Arena.
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In a 94-84 win over Northern Illinois, Thursday (March 16), the Jackrabbits (23-8) got big contributions from their three seniors.
Kerri Young hit seven of her first eight shots, including five three-pointers, in the first half, scoring 19 of her career-high 28 points.
Clarissa Ober grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds (the second most in SDSU history), en route top her seventh double-double of the season (17 points). She also blocked a season-high six shots.
Ena Viso added a career-high eight points off the bench.
The South Dakota State defense held NIU to under 40 percent shooting, and limited one of the top offensive players in the nation, Ally Lehman, to just 6-of-20 from the floor.
I talked with SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston about the Northern Illinois win and the match-up with Colorado:
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South Dakota State is making its fourth appearance in WNIT (7-3 overall record):
- 2007 – Beat Illinois State and Indiana. Eliminated by Wyoming.
- 2008 – Lost to Creighton in the opening round.
- 2014 – Beat Butler, Creighton, Minnesota, and Indiana. Eliminated by UTEP in the semifinals.
The Jackrabbits have also played in the NCAA Tournament seven times in the last nine seasons, going 2-7 overall with wins over TCU in 2009 and Miami (FL) in 2016.