The women’s side of the Summit League basketball tournament has officially been finalized. The final game was Feb. 28 between the South Dakota Coyotes and the Western Illinois Leathernecks. The Coyotes won the game 75-48. The AP poll however, has the Jackrabbits higher on the standings so they will be the higher overall in the tournament.
No. 1 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (21-8 overall, 17-1 conference) vs. No. 8 Denver Pioneers (10-19 overall, 5-13 conference)
With a win over in-state rival South Dakota (USD), the Jackrabbits were able to become co-Summit League Regular Season Champions. South Dakota State (SDSU) is led by redshirt junior forward Myah Selland who missed seven games this season. After missing those seven games, Selland still became the twelfth leading scorer in the Summit League and has the highest assist/turnover ratio with 2.6.
Denver had two wins to end their season and jump Omaha to secure the eight seed. Junior forward Uju Ezeudu leads the Pioneers in points per game and rebounds per game. Ezeudu is also third in points with 17.1 and fourth in rebounds with 8.1.
When these two teams met this season, the Jackrabbits won both matchups 87-43 and 79-52.
No. 2 South Dakota Coyotes (24-5 overall, 17-1 conference) vs. No. 7 Western Illinois Leathernecks (14-14 overall, 5-12 conference)
After the Coyotes’ 27-point victory over Western Illinois, they will have to play them again during the first round of the tournament. The Coyotes are led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year, senior center Hannah Sjerven. Along with Sjerven are senior guards Chloe Lamb and Liv Korngable. Lamb and Sjerven are both inside the top ten in the Summit League in scoring with 15.7 and 14.5 points, respectively.
For the Leathernecks, they lost their last four games of the season. They are led by the leading rebounder in the Summit League, senior forward Evan Zars. Zars is grabbing nine rebounds per game and putting up 10.8 points per game. Senior guard Danni Nichols is the fifth leading scorer in the Summit League with 15.7 points per game.
The Coyotes took both of the games this season versus the Leathernecks. The first game was won 70-53 and the second was 75-48.
No. 3 Kansas City Roos (22-7 overall, 12-6 conference) vs. No. 6 North Dakota State Bison (11-17 overall, 7-11 conference)
The Roos come into the tournament jumping up one spot from the preseason projection as they were expected to go 10-12. In their last 11 games they went 9-2 only losing to the top seeded South Dakota schools. Senior guard Naomie Alnatas is the Roos leading scorer for the second season in a row. She is also the second leading scorer in the Summit League with her 18.3 points per game.
North Dakota State (NDSU) dropped from where they were projected in preseason going from the third seed to the sixth. They won their last game of the season, beating the Fighting Hawks 81-64. Junior guard Heaven Hamling is their leading scorer with 14.1 points per game which is a whole point higher than her average last season. Hamling’s 14.1 points makes her ninth in the conference in scoring.
The Roos got the upper hand on both games they played this season winning 67-62 and 76-67.
No. 4 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (15-14 overall, 10-8 conference) vs. No. 5 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (15-14 overall, 9-9 conference)
The Golden Eagles had a rough start to their conference season with three of their six games getting canceled. However they bounced back and went nine and five to finish their season. Oral Roberts is led by freshman forward Tirzah Moore who is seventh in the Summit League in scoring with 14.8 points per game. Moore also leads Oral Roberts in rebounds per game with six.
On the other side, North Dakota (UND) dropped their last four games of the season including a game to Oral Roberts. The Fighting Hawks also exceeded expectations from the preseason poll as many said they would be ninth place in the Summit League. Junior guard Kacie Borowicz is the leading scorer of the Summit League averaging 19.6 points. Borowicz is also the second leading assister in the conference with 4.5 assists per game.
The Golden Eagles and Fighting Hawks split their season series with UND winning the first match 53-34. Oral Roberts took the second game less than a month ago, winning 68-64.
All games will be played in the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD. On March 5, SDSU will take on Denver at 12:30 p.m. and USD will compete against Western Illinois at 3 p.m. ORU vs. UND will compete on March 6 at 12:30 p.m. followed by Kansas City vs. NDSU at 3 p.m.