South Dakota State Women's Basketball NCAA Tournament Capsule

South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Summit League (24-8, 16-2)

South Dakota State has a couple fine experienced scorers on the perimeter in Jill Young and Ashley Eide. Young is mostly a three-point shooter, but she will mix up her game on occasion and get to the basket. However, her outside shooting is what is most valuable to the Jackrabbits and she will knock down about 2.5 per contest. Eide is a more dynamic scorer, who can score inside and out.

Big Wins: 11/20 Washington State (63-58), 1/16 South Dakota (59-51), 2/6 Oral Roberts (70-51)
Bad Losses: 12/19 at Marquette (51-59), 1/7 at Oral Roberts (65-71), 2/13 at South Dakota (53-59)
Coach: Aaron Johnston (12 seasons at South Dakota State)

Why They Can Surprise:
What has made South Dakota State so successful during the 2011-2012 campaign is their ability to hit the glass. Even Young, who is just 5-7 and spends most of her time on the perimeter, is a good rebounder. Eide has a little more size at 5-9 and she is also a very good rebounding guard. But of course it is the frontcourt that deserves much of the credit for the Jackrabbits rebounding edge. Forward Jennie Sunnarborg leads the team in rebounding and scoring. She is not the toughest post player around, but she can stretch out the defense with her mid-range jumper and will always work hard. Katie Lingle and Leah Dietel have split starting time beside Sunnarborg. Lingle, a 6-2 junior, has been the more productive of the two. Much of her scoring comes from offensive boards, but she can get some open looks under the basket when the opposition doubles Sunnarborg. Dietel will rarely put up big numbers, but she does the dirty work. Coach Aaron Johnston even has some frontcourt depth to work with and players like Hannah Strop can steal some minutes and at least continue South Dakota State’s dominance on the glass.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Rebounding will provide the Jackrabbits with extra possessions, but some of those will go away with turnovers. Junior Steph Paluch is not a true point guard, but has had to take over that role for the most part. Paluch is a superb defender and an experienced player, but this team lacks somebody who can consistently create shots for their teammates. That can lead to an occasionally stagnant offense; which leads to turnovers and poor shot selection. The turnover issue is a team problem and Paluch is one of the few players on the squad that actually has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Paluch will need to keep things under control during the tournament and let Young, Eide and Sunnarborg do most of the scoring.

Probable Starters:
Steph Paluch, Junior, Guard, 6.5 ppg, 2.5 apg
Jill Young, Senior, Guard, 12.0 ppg, 1.9 apg, 4.1 rpg
Ashley Eide, Junior, Guard, 11.0 ppg, 2.3 apg, 4.8 rpg
Leah Dietel, Junior, Forward, 3.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Jennie Sunnarborg, Senior, Forward, 14.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Gabrielle Boever, Freshman, Guard, 2.3 ppg, 1.3 apg
Tara Heiser, Sophomore, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 1.6 apg
Katie Lingle, Junior, Center, 6.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Hannah Strop, Sophomore, Forward, 2.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.0 (84th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.1 (73, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.9 (54, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.0 (86, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (42, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.1 (24, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.1 (74, 5)
Rebound Margin: 7.1 (19, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (120, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.7 (133, 5)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
South Dakota State    2011    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Xavier
South Dakota State    2010    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Oklahoma
South Dakota State    2009    NCAA        Round of 64 win over TCU
South Dakota State    2009    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to Baylor
South Dakota State    2008    NIT           First Round loss to Creighton
South Dakota State    2007    NIT           Second Round win over Illinois State
South Dakota State    2007    NIT           Third Round win over Indiana
South Dakota State    2007    NIT           Fourth Round loss to Wyoming

*all team stats through 3/1

See All Women’s Basketball Postseason Capsules