Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Women Host Denver, Oral Roberts
Two weeks into the 2019 Summit League schedule things are wide open at the top of the standings where five of the conference's nine teams have one loss in league play.
That includes South Dakota State, who welcomes two of those other one-loss teams to Brookings this week.
The Jackrabbits (10-6/2-1 Summit League) host Denver Wednesday (January 9) and Oral Roberts Saturday (January 12) at Frost Arena.
The Pioneers (10-7/3-1 Summit League) have a half-game lead on the rest of the field thanks to an explosive offense that has averaged 95 points per game in their last three wins.
Junior guard Lauren Loven is the reigning Summit League Player of the Week after scoring 56 points on 17-of-24 shooting (71%) in wins over South Dakota and North Dakota last week. Loven was 12-of-20 from behind the three-point arc and 10-of-10 from the free throw line in those two games.
Senior guard Samantha Romanowski is also deadly from long distance. She's fourth in the Summit in three-point shooting and was 12-of-18 from beyond the arc last week.
Junior forward Madison Nelson not only averages 16 points per game on the offensive end, but she also leads the Summit in rebounding and steals and is sixth in blocked shots.
DU's biggest weakness has been giving up the third most points per game of any team in the league (80).
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Wednesday in Brookings. SDSU leads the series 13-1.
Saturday, the Golden Eagles (9-7/2-1 Summit League) bring in a lineup that also likes to live from behind the three-point line.
ORU launches more three-pointers than any team in the league (30 per game) and attempted 37 in a win over Western Illinois last time out.
That reliance on long-range shooting has impacted the Golden Eagles' overall accuracy. ORU has shot under 40 percent in three of their last four games.
Senior Lakota Beatty (12 points per game) and sophomores Keni Jo Lippe (16 points per game) and Maya Mayberry (10 points per game) lead a guard-heavy offensive attack.
When they do miss, the Golden Eagles hit the offensive glass hard with sophomore center Regan Schumacher second in the league in offensive rebounding.
Defensively ORU has been tough on opponents allowing league lows in points per game (65) and shooting percentage (39%) while leading the Summit in steals.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Brookings.
Last week, South Dakota State opened with an 85-52 win at Purdue-Fort Wayne.
The Jackrabbits forced 17 first-half turnovers and raced out to ba 17-point lead at intermission a game that saw no one on SDSU roster play more than 27 minutes.
They needed that rest for a classic battle against South Dakota in Vermillion Sunday (January 6).
The Jackrabbits couldn't find their touch from outside early and found themselves down by as many as11 points in the first half before rallying to make it a two-point game at halftime.
The SDSU defense keyed a second-half run which put the Jacks up by five heading into the fourth quarter.
In that final period, the USD defense converted five turnovers into points and led by three with eight seconds left when SDSU guard Macy Miller drained a three-pointer sending the game into overtime.
In the first extra period, the Jackrabbits hit three of their first four shots and opened up a seven-point advantage with 2:30 to play, but hit just 1-of-4 in the final two minutes as USD rallied to force a second overtime.
In the second OT, SDSU missed four of their first five shots while USD was sinking 12 straight free throws in the extra periods to escape with a 105-98 double-overtime win.
Miller finished with 31 points in a losing cause. Ciara Duffy led the Coyotes with 28 points.
South Dakota won the rebounding battle 41-30 and used 12 offensive rebounds for 18 points.
I talked with SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston about last week's split and the match-ups with Denver and Oral Roberts: