Summit League Preview: South Dakota Women at North Dakota State, Western Illinois
Week two of the Summit League schedule comes early for the South Dakota women's basketball team, as the Coyotes play two games in 48 hours.
USD's first road trip in a month starts tonight (January 2) in Fargo where the Coyotes (9-5/1-0 Summit League) square off against North Dakota State.
The Bison (7-7/0-0 Summit League) are doing things a bit differently on offense this season, trying to get more players involved and rely less on senior guard Taylor Thunstedt, who averaged 15 points per game last season, but got little help.
This season, Thunstedt is scoring about five points per game less, but the four young players around her - sophomores Rylee Nudell, Reilly Jacobson, and Sarah Jacobson, and freshman Michelle Gaislerova are all averaging around ten points a game.
The Bison are the most accurate three-point shooting team (38%) in the conference so far and are holding opponents to the second lowest shooting percentage (38%).
Tipoff is 5:00 PM, tonight in Fargo.
After the game, the Coyotes make a quick trip to Macomb, to battle last season's Summit League regular season and tournament champs, Western Illinois, Thursday (January 4).
The Leathernecks (11-4/1-0 Summit League) are coming off of an impressive non-conference schedule which saw them post wins at Illinois and Stanford.
Western Illinois leads the conference in just about every offensive category thanks to a trio of players in the top four in scoring.
Senior guards Emily Clemens (17 points per game) and Morgan Blumer (15 points per game), and junior guard Taylor Higginbotham (17 points per game) will present the Coyotes with a tough defensive challenge.
Clemens is the pre-season player of the year in the Summit and scored 48 points in a two game sweep of USD last season.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Thursday in Macomb.
The Coyotes opened league play with a 79-51 win over Denver, Saturday (December 30) in Vermillion.
USD scored the first 13 points of the game, shot 75 percent in the first quarter, and got a career-first double-double from Ciara Duffy (24 points/10 rebounds) in the win.
The Coyotes defense forced 22 turnovers and held the Pioneers to 36 percent shooting.
I talked with USD Coach Dawn Plitzuweit about the non-conference schedule and Saturday's Summit League opener with Denver: