Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Women Host Western Illinois
The Jackrabbits (22-6/14-1 Summit League) have a one-game lead in the standings and a current 12-game winning streak heading into Saturday's (March 2) regular-season finale at home with Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks (12-16/8-7 Summit League) have dropped three straight and seem destined to be seeded fifth at next week's Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls.
WIU, already one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams in the league, has been especially active from behind the arc lately, attempting 66 triples in their last two games. Accuracy has been an issue late in the season. Western is shooting under 40 percent from the floor in two of the last three games.
The Leathernecks have been struggling on the defensive end during this stretch, allowing 80 points or more in the last three after not allowing an opponent to score more than 70 in the previous three games.
Junior guard Olivia Kaufmann leads the league in steals, is second in assists, and third in scoring.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Brookings.
South Dakota State won the first meeting, 93-84, in the regular season opener back in December in Macomb.
The two teams traded run in the first half, starting with a 9-0 spurt from SDSU, followed by a 12-2 run from WIU. The Jacks countered with a 10-2 run to lead by 12 at intermission.
After the Leathernecks cut the lead to five in the second half, South Dakota State pulled away, shooting 62 percent in the final 20 minutes.
Madison Guebert and Macy Miller each finished with 20 points for the Jacks, who dished out 21 assists and forced 20 turnovers.
Elizabeth Lutz led WIU with 28 points. She's scored just 33 points total in the 13 games since.
Last Wednesday (February 20), the Jackrabbits extended their win streak to 11 games with a 92-68 win over Purdue-Fort Wayne.
SDSU used an early 14-4 run to grab a double-digit lead. Tagyn Larson scored eight points during that stretch and 13 of her 17 points in the first quarter.
South Dakota State shot 50 percent in the first half, dishing out 14 assists on 18 made baskets to lead by 14 at halftime.
The Jacks made an early 8-0 run in the second half to extend the lead to 20 points. Eleven different SDSU players scored in the second 20 minutes.
State finished the night with a season-high 28 assists. Macy Miller led the way with six.
The Jackrabbits grabbed 18 offensive rebounds which led to 25 second-chance points. Tylee Irwin had four offensive boards.
Sunday (February 24), the Jackrabbits avenged their only loss of the first half of Summit League play with an 82-78 overtime win over #23 South Dakota.
The Jacks scored the first four points of the game but hit just one of their next six shots and turned it over three times as the Coyotes jumped out to a four-point lead of their own.
USD forced six more turnovers in the first half and crashed the offensive glass to get off 10 more shot attempts in the first half and lead SDSU by 11 at intermission.
That advantage grew to 13 in the second half before the Jackrabbits mounted a comeback as Guebert and Miller combined for 24 second-half points and SDSU had a two-point lead with less than eight minutes to play.
The Jacks kept that edge until USD's Chloe Lamb scored four straight points to tie the game at 69 with 1:45 left.
Neither team scored again in regulation, although Lamb did have two chances to win the game in the final seven seconds, but neither shot fell.
In overtime, the Coyotes led by one with 2:10 left when Miller took over, scoring six of SDSU's final eight points to secure the win.
Miller led all scorers with 28 points. Ciara Duffy finished with 23 for South Dakota.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach Aaron Johnston about last week's games and the match-up with Western Illinois: