Lucky No. 7

NATE GIESE Assistant Sports Editor

Sioux Falls has been rather kind to the SDSU women’s basketball team over the past seven years. Since they first became eligible to participate in postseason play at the Division I level, the Jackrabbits have made six NCAA Tournament appearances thanks to an 18-1 record in the Summit League Tournament. 

As they gear up for another tournament beginning Saturday against the IPFW Mastodons, players from all levels of experience in this tournament know what’s ahead and know what must be done to come away with a tournament championship. 

Sixth-year senior Gabrielle Boever has been there for the highs for winning a championship and says that making the small plays throughout the game are what can separate a winning team from a losing team in this setting. 

“Right now I feel like we’re even with people,” Boever said about how the Jacks compare to their opponents in hustle points. “I don’t feel like we’re above anyone or below anyone. I just feel order to win those games, you have to be above.” 

Boever has been part of four championship teams in her time. Because of her experiences and longevity with the program, Boever looks to lead by example, helping guide her younger teammates through obstacles of a season . 

“You can’t control how you’re shooting that day,” Boever explained, “but you can always control your effort and your attitude. Attitude and effort is always a big thing, especially for me. I may not be the best shooter or anything like that, but I feel like I always bring good effort on the court and I feel like the younger girls definitely look for me to do that.” 

With a rather young team to work with (eight underclassmen), Boever’s leadership could be key in taking SDSU all the way, especially for the freshmen such as Madison Guebert, who admits she’s both nervous and excited for the opportunity to get seniors Boever and Chloe Cornemann back to the national spotlight. 

“Obviously there’s going to be some nerves being a freshman, first time around,” the sharp-shooting Guebert said, “but I think I’m excited about it because I know how exciting of a time this is for everyone, especially our seniors, because it’s their last chance to win the Summit [League] and go to the NCAA Tournament.”

Past success in this tournament does not guarantee success this season, though. The teams have all changed, the balance of power has shifted a bit and there’s no telling what can happen once teams reach the postseason. 

Head coach Aaron Johnston has helped guide the women’s basketball program to be a consistent power in the Summit League and playing the tournament in Sioux Falls, less than an hour away from campus, every year has played a factor. 

“I would be silly to say that’s not a big deal for us,” Johnston said. “In the past, the majority of the crowd had been wearing yellow and blue, so that helps out an awful lot, but you still have to play well. That’s just what it always comes down to. You’ve got to figure out a way on the court to make it happen. If having fans there helps us, then that’s a good thing, too.” 

Through all the success in this tournament in the past, there has been just one misstep along the way: a 72-58 defeat at the hands of the University of South Dakota Coyotes. They are the one in 18-1 and also the team that earned their second-consecutive regular season conference championship and owns two wins over the Jackrabbits already this season.

Sophomore guard Macy Miller, who has been around for an NCAA Tournament appearance, admits that her team has some extra incentive going into the conference tournament as a potential underdog. 

“I’d say there’s a lot of motivation,” Miller said. “We always want to be on top, but we’ve just got to take every game and play every game as best as we can.” 

Sioux Falls has treated the Jackrabbits well to this point. Whether or not that happens again will be determined this weekend.