Summit League Preview: South Dakota Women Host South Dakota State
Long before the 2017-18 women's basketball season tipped off, fans around South Dakota were circling two dates - January 25 and February 21 - the two dates South Dakota and South Dakota State would meet in the Summit League regular season.
There's always a lot up for grabs when the Coyotes and Jackrabbits - winners of five of the six previous regular season conference Summit titles - meet, but this year the stakes are even higher.
USD (23-5/13-0) already has at least a share of this season's crown - their third in four years - but the Coyotes are a victory away from history. A South Dakota victory over South Dakota State would give USD the first perfect regular Summit League season in nearly 25 years. The last team to do it was Northern Illinois in the 1993-94 season.
South Dakota State (22-5/11-1) can throw a monkey wrench in the Coyotes' plans in a couple of ways.
A Jackrabbit win in Vermillion, Wednesday (February 21), would not only deny USD their date with history, it would also force the Coyotes to share the regular season crown with their bitter rivals, assuming SDSU takes care of last place Fort Wayne, Saturday (February 24).
The Jackrabbits come in with a six-game winning streak that got its beginnings on the heels of a 67-61 loss to South Dakota in Brookings last month.
SDSU is playing about as well as any team in the Summit - tops in points scored, three-point shooting, rebounding, opponents field goal percentage and opponents three-point percentage.
Junior guards Macy Miller and Madison Guebert are among the top scoring duos in the conference - averaging 35 points per game between them.
The Jackrabbits will have an additional weapon for this game they didn't have the first time around. Freshman Myah Selland will be in the lineup for the third straight game after missing the previous seven with an injury. She's averaging ten points and five rebounds a game
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Wednesday in Vermillion.
The Coyotes ran their current win streak to 17 with a pair of wins last week.
Wednesday (February 14), USD won 72-50 at Omaha, jumping out to an early 13-3 lead and holding the Mavericks to just 33 percent shooting on the night.
Kate Liveringhouse led the scoring with 14 points, while Jasmine Trimboli and Chloe Lamb combined for 20 points off the bench.
Saturday (February 17), the Coyotes returned home for a 72-55 win over Oral Roberts.
This was a game that saw the Golden Eagles take a six-point first half lead thanks to eight straight points from Faith Ihim.
But the USD defense clamped down in the second quarter, limiting ORU to just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Trimboli, in the starting lineup for this game, led the Coyotes with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Allison Arens added 15 points (11 in the second half), nine rebounds, and three steals.
I talked with USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit about last week's sweep and this week's match-up South Dakota State: