For the one and only time in the first half of the 2018 Summit League schedule, the South Dakota State women's basketball team is heading out on a road trip, visiting two of the top defense teams in the conference.

The Jackrabbits (12-4/2-0 Summit League) start in Denver, where the Pioneers are under the direction of new head coach Jim Turgeon.

Denver (10-7/1-1 Summit League) is winning games with defense and rebounding.

Opponents are shooting less than 39 percent against them all season so far and the Pioneers are the only team in the Summit to average better than 40 rebounds a game.

Jordyn Alt is the top overall and defensive rebounder in the conference.

The Pioneers have a very balanced attack offensively, with six players averaging between seven and nine points per game.

Tipoff is 8:00 PM, Thursday in Denver.

Saturday, the Jackrabbits will face the Summit League's toughest defense so far this season - Oral Roberts.

The Golden Eagles (10-6/2-1 Summit League) are limiting opponents to just 38 percent shooting overall, just  29 percent from behind the three-point arc - both league lows.

Senior Faith Ihim and junior Maria Martianez are the veteran leaders. Most of Ihim's 13 points a game come from inside, while Martianez is accurate from all over the floor, shooting 50 percent or better in seven of her last eight games. In three games against SDSU last season, she made 17 three-pointers.

ORU freshman Maya Mayberry is the most accurate three-point shooter in the league, hitting better than 51 percent from long range. She is the younger sister of Kaylan Mayberry, who graduated after last season.

Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Tulsa.

The Jackrabbits opened Summit League play with an 89-64 win over Omaha, in Brookings last Wednesday (January 3).

SDSU put on a long range shooting clinic in this one, hitting 52 percent from behind the three-point line (13-of-25), seven in the third quarter alone. Madison Guebert was 4-of-4 from behind the three-point line, 7-of-7 from the free throw line, finishing with a game high 25 points. Rylie Jensen added three triples.

The Jackrabbits led by seven after a quarter, but saw the Mavericks hit five three's of their own in the second quarter to take two-point lead at intermission.

While the SDSU offense was clicking in the second half, the Jacks defense was equally as good, limiting UNO to just 25 points on 38 percent shooting in the third and fourth quarters, while forcing seven turnovers.

South Dakota State's bench was big against Omaha, scoring 31 points.

Saturday (January 6), the Jackrabbits again relied on a strong second half to beat North Dakota State, 83-63.

After the Bison shot 64 percent in the first 20 minutes to trail by just three at halftime, SDSU blew the game open, scoring the first 11 points of the third quarter, thanks in large part to freshman Tylee Irwin, who scored eight straight points in one stretch and finished the game with 13.

The Jackrabbits dominated the offensive glass with 13 rebounds at their own end. Ellie Thompson and Tagyn Larson had three offensive rebounds each. The SDSU defense limited the Bison to no second chance points for the game and just 34 percent shooting in the second half.

Madison Guebert led all scorers with 18 points for the Jacks.

SDSU turned the ball over only eight times.

I talked with Jackrabbits assistant coach Mike Jewett about the Omaha and NDSU wins and the match-ups with Denver and Oral Roberts:

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