South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Jacks prepare for South Point Thanksgiving Shootout

Another challenge in the gauntlet that is the South Dakota State women’s basketball team’s nonconference schedule is almost here.

SDSU looks to extend its win streak to five games as it heads into a pair of contests at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout on Nov. 23-24 in Las Vegas.

It will not be easy.

One opponent holds a top-five ranking in the AP poll and the other is a powerful mid-major program, but SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston thinks his team is capable of being successful against stiff competition.

“I hope we play at the same high level we’ve played at these last few games,” Johnston said. “I’d hate to get to a point where we’ve started to play better defensively and all of a sudden start to get content or relax because we’ve had some success. We really have to be focused and play hard all the time. If we do, I think good things will happen for us.”


SDSU’s first game of the event is a matchup with Baylor.

Ranked No. 4 in the latest AP poll, the Lady Bears will present a challenge as they boast a significant size advantage over the Jackrabbits. Three Baylor starters stand 6-foot-1 or taller.

Senior center Kalani Brown headlines the talented Baylor squad. The 6-foot-7-inch center leads her team with 16.7 points a game.

Baylor uses its exceptional height and length against almost every team they play.

Outside shooting is not a large part of the Lady Bears’ offensive arsenal. They have made just 13 3-pointers (on 28 attempts) through four games, but have scored 94 points or more in three contests, including eclipsing the 100-point mark in two of them.

In other words, the Lady Bears want to score from the paint and their size makes them efficient in doing so. As a team, Baylor is shooting better than 62.6 percent on two-point field goals to this point in the season.

“They really beat you with how they rebound, attack the basket, score in the paint and make free throws,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said. “ … How we handle their length and size inside is a big concern.”

Defensively, the Jackrabbits will have to get creative to match up with the much larger Lady Bears and slow down a team that is outscoring opponents by a margin of 42.5 points a game.

For Baylor, seven different players hold a scoring average of more eight points a game or more.

SDSU’s first matchup of the weekend is scheduled to tip at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 from South Point Arena.


Following the game with the Lady Bears, the Jackrabbits will face the University of Buffalo.

The Bulls are yet another top mid-major program to appear on the SDSU nonconference schedule early in the 2018-19 season. Buffalo was ranked third in the Nov. 20 edition of the mid-major poll, one spot behind the Jackrabbits.

Buffalo is led by senior guard Cierra Dillard. To this point in the season, she ranks sixth in Divison I in scoring average with 26.7 points a game.

Dillard is not the only Bull the Jacks will have to slow down if they are to be successful.

Senior forward Courtney Wilkins is among the top 3-point shooters in the country, connecting on better than 45 percent of her attempts through three games.

“They have a little better inside-outside balance (than other teams the Jacks have played),” Johnston said. “Some teams we’ve played are inside teams and some are good jump shooting teams. Buffalo seems to do both really well … If you take one thing away they have other things they can go to.”

Both SDSU and Buffalo will have a short turnaround before their matchup with each other.

Buffalo will face Georgetown University prior to SDSU’s bout with Baylor Friday night.

Tip for the matchup between the Bulls and the Jacks is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24.

Last Week’s Recap

SDSU played only one game last week when Creighton visited Frost Arena on Nov. 15.

In the wire-to-wire 74-48 victory, the Jackrabbits led by as many as 39 points in and caused problems for the Bluejays at both ends of the court throughout the night.

Senior guard Macy Miller recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Jackrabbits.

Last week’s victory improved the Jacks’ record to 3-1.

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