SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – South Dakota State was picked to hoist the Summit League Women’s Basketball regular season trophy while North Dakota’s Kacie Borowicz was named the Preseason Player of the Year for the 2023-24 season, League officials released Tuesday. The voting panel included the League’s nine head coaches, sports information directors and select media members.
The Jackrabbits, who finished the 2022-23 League season with an 18-0 record, going unbeaten for the second time in three years, sat atop the poll after totaling 577 points and receiving 27 of the 36 first-place votes. North Dakota State held the second spot in the preseason rankings after the Bison garnered five first-place votes and 526 total points.
The South Dakota Coyotes, who are under the guidance of second-year head coach Kayla Karius, rounded out the top three in the poll with 485 total points and two first-place votes.
Borowicz averaged a team-best 19.4 ppg, 4.8 apg and 1.7 spg while pulling down 4.0 rpg for the Fighting Hawks last season. Her points per game and assists per game ranked second in the League. Borowicz reached double figures in the scoring column in 17 of the 18 League games last season, including putting together three 30-plus point performances.
Joining Borowicz on the Preseason All-Summit League first team were Oral Roberts’ Hannah Cooper, North Dakota State’s Elle Evans and Heaven Hamling, South Dakota’s Grace Larkins and South Dakota State’s Paige Meyer.
The Preseason All-Summit League second team saw USD’s Carley Duffney, Denver’s Makayla Minett and Emma Smith, SDSU’s Tori Nelson and ORU’s Ruthie Udoumoh.
Points for the preseason poll were compiled on a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, while all-league teams were compiled on an 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. The top six vote-getters earned first-team honors and the next five were selected to the second team. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes or team.
2023-24 Preseason Summit League Player of the Year
Kacie Borowicz, North Dakota
2023-24 Preseason All-Summit League First Team
Kacie Borowicz, North Dakota, Gr., G (19.4 ppg/4.0 rpg/4.8 apg/82.4 FT%)*
Hannah Cooper, Oral Roberts, Gr., G (20.4 ppg/4.6 rpg/3.9 apg/2.5 spg)
Elle Evans, North Dakota State, So., G (13.8 ppg/4.7 rpg/83.7 FT%)
Heaven Hamling, North Dakota State, Sr., G (17.2 ppg/ 5.1 rpg/ 3.9 apg)
Grace Larkins, South Dakota, Jr., G (18.3 ppg/8.7 rpg/4.9 apg/2.1 spg)
Paige Meyer, South Dakota State, Jr., G (9.6 ppg/3.2 apg/2.4 rpg/54.5 FG%)
2023-24 Preseason All-Summit League Second Team
Carley Duffney, South Dakota, So., F (12.2 ppg/4.2 rpg/88.5 FT%)
Makayla Minett, Denver, Gr., F (8.1 ppg/8.8 rpg/2.9 bpg)
Tori Nelson, South Dakota State, Sr., F (7.8 ppg/3.1 rpg/2.2 apg)
Emma Smith, Denver, So., G (13.4 ppg/4.8 rpg/2.9 apg/80.7 FT%)
Ruthie Udoumoh, Oral Roberts, Gr., G (11.8 ppg/7.5 rpg/2.5 apg/2.0 spg)
stats from 2022-23 Summit League games
*Preseason player of the year automatically earns a spot on the first team
2023-24 Summit League Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
|Rank||School||Points (1st)||2022-23 Record (SL)|
|1.||South Dakota State||577 (27)||29-6 (18-0)|
|2.||North Dakota State||526 (5)||18-12 (12-6)|
|3.||South Dakota||485 (2)||14-16 (10-8)|
|4.||North Dakota||434||19-13 (11-7)|
|5.||Oral Roberts||357 (1)||12-19 (8-10)|
|7.||Denver||233 (1)||12-18 (8-10)|
|8.||St. Thomas||203||13-17 (7-11)|
|9.||Kansas City||174||9-23 (3-15)|
#SummitWBB Preseason Notes
- During the 2022-23 season, South Dakota State made its 11th trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 15 seasons of postseason eligibility and first trip since 2021. The Jacks earned the automatic bid to the Big Dance by winning their 10th League tournament trophy.
- South Dakota State finished the 2022-23 League season with an 18-0 record, going unbeaten for the second time in three years. The Jacks’ undefeated League record was the fourth in the history of the Summit League and they were the first team to go 18-0 since 1993-94. SDSU finished the campaign 29-6 overall.
- The Jackrabbits received votes throughout the 2022-23 season in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Polls as well as sat among the top 10 in the CollegeInsider.com’s Women’s Mid Major Top 25. In the final polls, SDSU was receiving votes in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Polls and sat atop the Mid Major Top 25 list.
- In the statistical rankings, the Jackrabbits ranked among the nation’s top 20 in 11 categories: assist/turnover ratio (17th), assists per game (19th), bench points per game (18th), field goal percentage (8th), free throw attempts per game (15th), free throws made per game (10th), rebound margin (8th), defensive rebounds per game (14th), scoring margin (6th), scoring offense (13th) and winning percentage (14th).
- In company with South Dakota State, the League saw three additional teams rank among the top 20 nationally in four statistical categories. Denver (three-point attempts per game – 7th and three-pointers per game – 18th), Omaha (free throw percentage – 14th) and Oral Roberts (scoring offense – 16th).
- Overall last season, Borowicz led the League in six statistical categories and ranked in the top 20 nationally in four of the six (field goal attempts, field goals, points, points per game).
- She paced the Fighting Hawks during League play, averaging a team-high 19.4 ppg, 4.8 apg and 1.7 spg while pulling down 4.0 rpg. Borowicz had twelve 20-plus point games during League play, three of which were 30-plus performances.
- Borowicz, Larkins, Hamling and Cooper, who were named to the preseason all-league first team, were All-Summit League First Team honorees last season. It was the third all-league selection for Hamling, second for Borowicz and first for Larkins and Cooper.
- Larkins, the 2021-22 Sixth Woman of the Year, paced the Coyotes during League action last season averaging 18.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 4.9 apg and 2.1 spg. She had eight double-doubles and flirted with a triple-double six times last season.
- Hamling, who was named the 2020-21 Newcomer of the Year, led the Bison during League play averaging 17.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 3.9 apg. She ranked fourth in the League in points per game and in three-point field goal percentage (35.3 percent).
- Meyer played in 23 games last season after missing the entire non-conference slate coming back from a season-ending injury in 2021-22. In League play, she ranked first on the team in assists per game (3.2), second in steals (1.4) and fourth in points per game (9.6).
- Cooper led the League in points per game (20.4) and free throws made (105). Overall she ranked in the top 20 nationally in free throw attempts (14th – 211), free throws (13th – 169) and points per game (20th – 20.3). She scored double digits in all but one game she played in last season. She turned in fifteen 20-plus point games, four of which were 30-plus point games.
- Last season’s Freshman of the Year, Evans, started in 17 of 18 League games for the Bison, reaching double digits in the scoring column in 15 of her 17 starts. During League play, she averaged 13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 1.3 apg.
- Nelson, the 2019-20 Freshman of the Year, started all 35 games for the Jackrabbits last season. Against League competition, she averaged 7.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 2.2 apg while ranking second on the team in blocks with 16.
- During her freshman campaign, Smith led the Pioneers with 13.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 2.9 apg during League action earning her honorable mention honors. She scored double figures in 12 League games last season including turning in five 20-plus point games.
- Defensive Player of the Year, Minett, helped the Pioneers become the best blocking team in the League with an average of 4.6 bpg. She sat atop the League in blocks per game (2.9) and total blocks (52) while ranking ninth nationally in blocks per game and 13th in total blocks. She finished League play averaging 8.1 ppg, and 8.8 rpg.
- Duffney was the second-best scorer for the Coyotes during her first year in the red and white. She averaged 12.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 1.7 apg during League play and had the second-highest free throw percentage in the League (88.5 percent).
- During her first season with the Golden Eagles, Udoumoh averaged 11.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 2.5 apg during League play. She started 17 of 18 League games and reached double digits in the scoring column in 11 of the 18 games.