VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — There will be more than bragging rights on the line when the South Dakota State and South Dakota Women meet on the hardwood this weekend. Both teams are tied atop the Summit League standings with identical 4-0 conference records, and Saturday’s winner will have the inside track to the Summit League regular season championship.
SDSU and USD have once again established themselves as the two favorites in the Summit League, and Saturday’s matchup will just be the next chapter in this rivalry.
“It’s always fun. The energy is always there with the atmosphere and the crowd. We’re going to be excited. I know their players are going to be excited so it’ll be a good one nonetheless,” Senior Guard Chloe Lamb said.
SDSU swept last year’s series, but both games were held in Brookings. Saturday’s contest will be in Vermillion, a place the Jacks haven’t won at since 2014.
“They’ve had, these last couple years some of the best teams they’ve ever had there, are happening right now for them. When you factor that into a tough environment with the quality of the team, it’s hard to win there, whether it is for us or anybody else that goes there,” SDSU Head Coach Aaron Johnston said.
The Coyotes will have to slow down an SDSU offense that’s averaging more than 76 points per game.
“They’re a team that’s very versatile. I think they can post up just about anybody on their team and can kind of put you in spots where everybody has to defend multiple positions, and they really stretch the defense,” USD Head Coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.
On the other end of the floor, the Jacks will have their hands full with USD’s defense, which has held conference opponents to just 50 points per contest.
“They’re really physical. Physical inside and they’re physical on the perimeter. They really don’t let you get to comfortable spots, whether it’s off the dribble, or on cuts, on post ups. They just make it hard for you to score because of their physicality,” Johnston said.
The two programs have combined to win 9 of the last 10 Summit League regular season titles, and Saturday’s winner will put themselves in control of winning another.
“It will be a really important game for both teams. I think again, we have some good momentum, I’m sure they feel they have good momentum, so hopefully you’ll see two teams play at a really high level,” Johnston said.
USD and SDSU are set to clash in Vermillion on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1:00.