Jacks on top of Summit League with wins over rivals


The South Dakota State women’s basketball team came away with two victories in Frost Arena over rival opponents last week, to improve 18-5 overall and 9-2 in the Summit League.

The Jacks started their week Thursday, Feb. 2, with a 70-44 victory over North Dakota State. SDSU followed up with a 70-58 win over South Dakota Saturday, Feb. 4. With the win over USD, the Jackrabbits took sole possession of first place in the Summit League.

The Jacks led the whole game against NDSU and led for 38:45 against USD. Head Coach Aaron Johnston was pleased with the way his team controlled the games.

“I thought our defense was excellent in both games,” Johnston said. “I thought we did a good job of disrupting their offenses and I think, when we had stretches where our offense wasn’t as effective, our defense was still good and they were a huge part of sustaining those wins.”

The Jacks defense is second in the league in points given up per game, only allowing 59.7 points per game. USD came into the game against the Jacks scoring 73.7 points a game and SDSU held them to 58.

“We’ve defended the three point line very well and caused teams to take contested shots,” Johnston said. “We’ve also done a good job of stopping penetration and closing those lanes.”

Senior center Clarissa Ober, who came back from a shoulder injury in early January, had 15 points, 12 rebounds and three steals against USD.

“Every day she’s looking healthier and healthier. She’s definitely gaining more strength and confidence in her game and is doing a really nice job and did a lot in that USD game,” Johnston said.

Up next for the Jacks will be their annual Think Pink Game, which will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Frost Arena against Oral Roberts.

The Jacks will wear special black uniforms with pink letters and numbers that will be auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds going to the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.

“This is a great organization and it will be the third year we’ve partnered up with them,” Johnston said. “I think the partnership between us brings more awareness and support for people that are battling that difficult disease.”

Oral Roberts comes into the game 13-11 overall and 5-6 in the Summit League, which puts them in fifth place. Oral Roberts is third in the Summit League in points given up per game. SDSU defeated ORU 78-57 in Tulsa, Oklahoma Jan. 14.

The Jacks will then travel to Indianapolis Saturday, Feb. 11, to take on IUPUI, which is 17-7 overall, the top defensive team in the Summit League and fourth overall in league with a record of 7-4. SDSU defeated IUPUI 68-49 in Brookings Jan. 11.

“Both teams are great defensively, so we better have some good plans on how we’re gonna score,” Johnston said. “Then on the offensive side, they both do a great job attacking the basket, so we’re gonna have to do a good job of forcing them to take jump shots.”