BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The SDSU women’s basketball team won the WNIT last year. This season, the Jackrabbits went 21-0 against league opponents to win the Summit League and punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

The SDSU women muscled past their three tournament opponents to claim the conference title. More importantly, that earned them an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

“It was a little easier to watch this year, knowing that our name was going to be called, but we’re excited and I think we’re going to make the most of it,” Myah Selland said.

“Definitely lessens the nerves a little bit, but there is still that anticipation and nerves going into today. It just feels good,” Paiton Burckhard said.

The Jackrabbits were projected a double digit seed, but when the time came, SDSU was given a nine-seed.

“As the Selection Show started to go on and you saw where some other teams were seeded, I thought ‘we’re probably going to sneak into the eight-nine line,’ and sure enough, we did,” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said.

And SDSU’s opponent will be a Pac-12 foe in USC.

“Southern California is just a tough opponent. We’ve seen them some on film, not that we’ve been preparing, but just as you watch other teams,” Johnston said. “They’ve got a really good team, so it’s going to be a big challenge.”

The Jacks have played in just one NCAA Tournament since the pandemic and that was the bubble year in 2021.

“Being able to kind of be normal in the situations that we’re in, whether that’s just being in Virginia casually or in the games situations. I’m really excited to see the turnout from our fans,” Burckhard said.

“It’s a thing that brings people together and it creates some of those shared memories and shared experiences,” Johnston said. “When you get to go play in a facility that you’ve never played in before, in a part of the country you’ve never been in before, it just adds to the experience.”

SDSU and USC will play on Friday, March 17 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. central time.