Off to Fargo this weekend for SDSU at NDSU in college hoops! We have the women on TV on Friday night at 7:00. (No TV for the men on Saturday, BUT we will have them on when they play in Brookings on Feb. 15th.)
The women's game should be good, though... SDSU is on top of the Summit League at 7-1.
NDSU is sixth right now at 4-4, but the Bison women have come on strong after a tough early season schedule that started with a loss at Wisconsin-Green Bay which is #1 in the Mid-Major poll right now. NDSU played at Minnesota, at Drake and dropped games against Kansas State, UNLV and Northwestern.
But after that Northwestern loss just over a month ago, the Bison have figured out how to play together and how to win according to head coach Carolyn DeHoff. Three straight conference victories got a little confidence back and the Bison realized they can win some games this year without Katie Birkel. Birkel injured an ACL before the season began. She had started all 87 games in her first three years and was going to be their senior leader and best player this year. (She plans to be back next season.)
So it took 14 games, but Dani DeGagne and Abby Plucker and Hannah Linz and Janae Burich have come together with their teammates to form a solid group. DeGagne, a hockey player in her youth, is a tough scorer off the bench. Linz, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 (and never missed a game!) is a great three-point shooter. Plucker is a tremendous student and leader as a 5th-year senior. Burich is 6-foot-5 and a good defender and shot-blocking machine.
South Dakota State is rolling, but the Jacks have had games this year when they have really struggled to score. We'll see how the matchups play out. Jennie Sunnarborg inside against Burich should be fun to watch. So should Jill Young and Hannah Linz, two of the best scorers and 3-point shooters in South Dakota and Minnesota high school history... both went over 3,000 points and both are silky-smooth left-handers. DeGagne for the Bison and Ashley Eide for the Jacks are tough and strong and mean (in a good way).
Take all of that and throw it on top of the "border battle" biz and this is going to be good. See you at the BSA.