It’s shaping up to be another exciting day for basketball fans in South Dakota.
The South Dakota State University women’s basketball team scored a 76-65 win over Quinnipiac in round one of the NCAA Tournament, earning the Jackrabbits a date with site host Syracuse. On Monday, SDSU takes on 12th-ranked Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CDT.
SDSU has advanced to the round of 32 for the first time since 2016, while a win over third-seeded Syracuse would earn the Jackrabbits their first-ever trip to the Sweet 16.
SDSU imporved to 23-1 this season when holding an opponent to 70-or-fewer points with Saturday’s win over Quinnipiac, but will now attempt to slow a Syracuse offense averaging nearly 80 points per game.
“Watching them, they always have teams kind of back on their heels, so for us it’s about finding the right tempo to play at. I don’t think we’re necessarily comfortable just slowing it down. That’s not where we’re at our best, but we still have to find a comfortable pace because I think their pace is a little faster than most teams,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said.
The Orange will also have the crowd on their side, but SDSU senior Madi Guebert expects the Jackrabbits to step up.
“I think this team has a lot of experience and a lot of players that have played in big environments and big games before, so I definitely think that experience is going to help us,” SDSU senior Madi Guebert said.
“I’ve always loved our mentality and approach. We don’t have to be the loudest team in the gym, we’re certainly not the quietest, we’re somewhere in the middle. We kind of take things as they come and try and do the best we can in those moments,” Johnston said.
And the Jacks aren’t taking this moment for granted.
“Embracing the moment. You don’t know if this is going to be your last game this season or ever being in the NCAA Tournament, so just making the most of the opportunity at-hand is something really special and something we’re trying to do now,” SDSU sophomore Tylee Irwin said.
“Making sure we’re living in the moment and taking advantage of what’s right in front of us,” SDSU junior Rylie Cascio Jensen said.
“It will never be this team again, so just trying to take advantage of this group we have right now and trying to play together and play for each other with this team that we have right here,” Guebert said.
KELOLAND Sports will have live reports beginning on Midday in KELOLAND and a live blog during Monday’s contest.