Summit League Tournament Preview: #1 South Dakota State vs. #8 Purdue-Fort Wayne
In the ten tournaments since arriving in South Dakota's largest city, the Jackrabbits have captured eight crowns and the automatic trips to the NCAA Tournament that comes with them.
But in 2019, things are a bit different for SDSU heading into the post season.
For the first time since the 2012-13 season, South Dakota State is the number-one seed in the tournament after capturing their first Summit League regular season title in five years.
The Jackrabbits (23-6/15-1 Summit League) open play, Saturday (March 9) against number-eight seed Purdue-Fort Wayne.
The Mastodons (7-21/3-13 Summit League) are built to play defense - second in the Summit League in blocked shots and defending the three-point line and fourth in fewest points allowed.
They have two of the top young post players in the league in junior forward Sh'Toya Sanders and sophomore center Jaelencia Williams. Sanders is third in the conference in rebounding, Williams blocked more shots (27) than anyone in the Summit this season.
Tipoff is noon Saturday at the PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls.
The Jackrabbits won 13 straight games to end the regular season and swept the series with Fort Wayne, winning by 33 in Indiana in January and by 24 in Brookings last month.
SDSU hit 11 three-pointers and forced 21 turnovers in the first meeting and shot 50 percent from the floor in the rematch.
The winner advances to the semifinals, Monday (March 11) afternoon.
The Jackrabbits finished off their regular season title run with a 100-62 win over Western Illinois last week (March 2).
SDSU began the game on an 11-0 run and never looked back.
Macy Miller scored 14 of her game-high 24 points in the second half and Tylee Irwin added a double-double (17 points/12 rebounds).
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach Aaron Johnston about last week's win and the match-up with Purdue-Fort Wayne: