Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Women Host Purdue – Fort Wayne, South Dakota
The stretch run is officially here for the 2019 Summit League regular season and for South Dakota State they find themselves right where they want to be - in first place and at home for the final three games on the schedule.
The Jackrabbits (20-6/12-1 Summit League) open play this week with a half-game edge on South Dakota, a team they square off with in Brookings Sunday afternoon (February 24).
But before that, the Jackrabbits put a ten-game winning streak on the line when they host Purdue - Fort Wayne Wednesday night (February 20).
The Mastodons (6-19/2-11 Summit League) have dropped five straight and haven't won a road game since November (1-12 on the road this season).
But Fort Wayne has plenty to play for. The Dons are in a three-way battle with Omaha and North Dakota State for the final two spots in next month's Summit League tournament in Sioux Falls.
P-FW is in the midst of a shooting slump, hitting under 40 percent from the floor in four of their last five games. Senior guard De'Jour Young leads them in scoring with 12 points per game.
Inside, the Mastodons have two of the top young post players in the Summit. Junior forward Sh'Toya Sanders leads the league in blocked shots and is second in rebounding, while sophomore center Jaelencia Williams is third in blocks and ninth on the offensive glass.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Wednesday in Brookings.
SDSU won the first meeting 85-52.
In that game the Jackrabbit defense forced 17 first half turnovers, leading to 20 points at the other end.
South Dakota State shot 51 percent in the first half and 63 percent in the second half in Fort Wayne.
Sunday in Brookings, it's the rematch with South Dakota
The #23 Coyotes (23-3/11-1 Summit League) are riding their own ten-game winning streak heading into this week and have won 25 of 26 conference games dating back to last season.
The USD defense has been stingy lately, holding opponents to 50 points or less in five of the last ten games.
South Dakota has four players who average in double figures and have won ten of 12 on the road this season.
Junior Ciara Duffy is fourth in the Summit in scoring, averaging 17 points per game.
The game will feature the top two scoring offenses in the conference.
Tipoff is 1:00 PM, Sunday in Brookings
USD won the first meeting, 105-98 in double overtime, last month in Vermillion.
The Jackrabbits were just 2-of-11 from the three-point line in the first half and trailed by as many as 11 in the first 20 minutes.
SDSU shot 56 percent in the second half and grabbed a seven-point lead midway thru the third quarter but trailed by three in the final seconds of regulation when Macy Miller hit a clutch three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
The Jackrabbits raced out to a seven-point lead in the first extra period, but scored just two points in the final 2:52 as USD forced a second OT.
The Coyotes never trailed in the second overtime, scoring eight of their 14 points from the free throw line.
Last Wednesday (February 13), the Jackrabbits ran their winning streak to nine games with an 82-38 win at Omaha.
Tagyn Larson was the offensive star for SDSU. The junior broke a school record going 11-of-11 from the floor while scoring a career-high 27 points. She added nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
Saturday (February 16) in Fargo, the Jackrabbits got 30 points from Miller in an 88-48 win at North Dakota State.
After a tight first quarter, SDSU went on a 12-2 run to start the second and didn't allow a Bison field goal for more than four minutes.
South Dakota State shot 73 percent in the second half.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach Aaron Johnston about last week's games and the match-ups with Purdue - Fort Wayne and South Dakota: