Women see historic season come to an end

Landon Dierks, Sports Reporter

It was a historic season that Jackrabbit players, coaches and fans won’t soon forget.

As the clock hit zeroes at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, on Friday night, the most successful campaign in South Dakota State Division I basketball history — men’s or women’s — came to an end.

The 2018-19 women’s basketball program finished the season with a 28-7 record, notched the second-most single-season wins in the Division I era. The women lost only once at home (to No. 7 Oregon 87-79) and once in conference play (at South Dakota 104-98 in double overtime) and made program history by advancing to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.

It did so against, arguably, the toughest schedule in school history. According to the NCAA’s rating percentage index (RPI), SDSU ranked 27th out of 351 schools.

In seven games against ranked opponents, SDSU went 3-4. Two of those wins (No. 21 Drake and No. 23 USD) came inside Frost Arena and the other was over No. 12 Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

For the three seniors — Madison Guebert, Macy Miller and Sydney Palmer — Friday marked their final time representing SDSU.

I’m proud of the seniors, what we accomplished,” Miller said after the season-ending loss to Oregon. “I’m proud of our teammates. We made history this year, so there’s nothing we can be sad about.

During their four years representing the yellow and blue, Guebert and Palmer were a part of teams that went a combined 104-30. Miller, who came to SDSU a year earlier than her fellow seniors but missed much of the 2016-17 season with a knee injury, went 112-32 in her career (including the nine games she played prior to the injury in 2016).

Guebert and Miller, in particular, stood out in their final collegiate season. Both were named to the All-Summit League first team and all-tournament teams, with Miller earning her second consecutive conference player of the year honor.

It was only fitting that the two guards led the Jacks deeper into the NCAA Tournament than any other in school history.

Miller finished her career with 2,355 points — setting the school and conference records for career scoring.

Guebert’s 369 career 3-pointers are also school and conference records, and her 1,821 career points rank fourth in SDSU history.

The senior duo was joined on the All-Summit teams by junior Tagyn Larson (second team), who also made the all-tournament team, and Myah Selland (honorable mention). Freshman Paiton Burckhard was named to the conference all-newcomer team.

One of the most successful senior classes in school history may be leaving, but the roster is still strong. Starters Larson, Selland and Tylee Irwin all return as well as key reserves from this year’s team in Burckhard, Rylie Cascio Jensen and Lindsey Theuninck.

Coach Aaron Johnston’s coaching history also speaks for itself. The Jacks will likely contend for the top of the Summit eleven months from now.

I’m going to miss being out there,” Guebert said. “But I can’t wait to watch where this team continues to go.