Women open year Tuesday

Jacks picked to finish 2nd behind Coyotes


Joclyn Haven

South Dakota State’s Tori Nelson defends against a St. Cloud State player in an exhibition game last week at Frost Arena. The Jacks open their schedule against Green Bay Nov. 9.

Evan Patzwald, Assistant Sports Editor (He/him)

​​The South Dakota State women’s basketball team hopes to pick up where  it left off, building off last season’s success as they open the 2021-22 campaign Tuesday against Green Bay. 

SDSU was picked to finish second in the Summit League, with 18 first place votes, just behind USD with 20 first place votes. The Coyotes finished second in the Summit League a season ago.

“Like a lot of teams, we didn’t lose nearly anybody to graduation last year, so we return a lot of our minutes, scoring and leadership on our team,” coach Aaron Johnston said.

Three Jackrabbits were named to the Preseason All-Summit League First Team: Tylee Irwin, Paiton Burkhard and Myah Selland, who was also voted Preseason Player of the Year.

Highlights to the schedule this season include a trip to Estero, Florida, Nov. 26-28 for the Gulf Coast Showcase. They open against UMASS with their other opponents yet to be determined.

After a trip to Cedar Falls, Iowa to play Northern Iowa Dec. 4, the Jacks have a three-game homestand to close out their non conference schedule with games against Missouri State, Kansas State and Dakota Wesleyan. Northern Iowa and Kansas State were the Jacks’ only regular season losses last year.

“We have a really good tough schedule coming up that will tell us a lot about where we’re at,” Johnston said.

SDSU’s conference schedule is highlighted by games against their rival Coyotes in Vermillion Jan. 8 and back at Frost Arena Feb. 5. The Jacks play NDSU Dec. 30 in Brookings and Jan. 29 in Fargo. 

Last season saw the Jacks go 21-4 overall and 14-0 in the Summit League. This was the first time in school history that the team went undefeated in conference play. 

They also earned their first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament securing a rematch from two years prior against Syracuse. Injuries riddled the team towards the end of the season as they had to play their last few games without leading scorer Selland.

The rest of the team will have to step up, as Selland will not be in action to start the season.

“There’s no real timeline or date we expect her back, but we expect her to have a really full fall,” Johnston said of Selland’s injury status.

SDSU lost their last two games of the year as they were shockingly upset by the No. 8 seed Omaha in the Summit League Tournament, scoring a season-low 40 points. They then would go on to lose their NCAA Tournament matchup with Syracuse, 55-72.