Women: Jackrabbits are favorites again

Spencer Chase


Since South Dakota is not eligible to play in the Summit League tournament due to rules about their transition to Division I, the Jackrabbits will enter the Summit League tournament with one loss to the field, a 71- 65 defeat at the hands of Oral Roberts in Tulsa.

The Jacks will enter the Summit League as the top seed and will face IPFW in the opening round. The Jacks beat IPFW by a combined 33 points in their two regular season meetings. It has been quite the fall from grace for the Mastodons, who played as the No. 2 seed in the tournament last year and lost to the Jacks in the semifinals.

After the first round is where things get a little tricky. The Jacks could play the winner of the NDSU-IUPUI game. The Jacks are also undefeated against both of those teams this season.

The final game could potentially be a matchup of SDSU and Oral Roberts. These two teams split the regular season series with both picking up a win on their home court. It will be important for the Jacks to stop Jaci Bigham and two-time Summit League player of the year Kevi Luper, who despite her successes, has never made the NCAAs. One thing that will undoubtedly play a role in the performance of the Jackrabbits is the senior leadership from Jill Young and Jennie Sunnarborg. Both Young and Sunnarborg have been a part of the previous three Summit League Championship teams and will be determined to get back to the NCAA tournament.

“The (tourney) is the end result that every team wants,” Young said. “Jennie and I aren’t satisfied with three of them and we’d love to end our career going back again.”

Sunnarborg, the Jackrabbits leading scorer and rebounder, echoed Young’s sentiments.

“Right now we’re sitting in a good position and (the title is) not something that we want to let slip through our fingers,” Sunnarborg said.

According to SDSU Head Coach Aaron Johnston, the Jacks are playing some of their best basketball right now and are poised to win their fourth consecutive Summit League title and make their eighth consecutive postseason appearance.

“I really like how we’re playing and I think we’re certainly capable of winning three games in Sioux Falls, but there’s eight other teams there thinking the same thing, so we’ll have to play well when that time comes,” Johnston said.