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SUMMIT STRENGTH INDEX - WOMEN

 

The top 5 stay the same this week in the Midco Sports Network survey of Summit League women's basketball.

Our panel is:  Greg Stemen, Brad Newitt, Jay Elsen, Brian Shawn, Kelly Stewart and Tom Nieman.

 

For the Week of January 22

 

1. South Dakota (6-0 Summit)

Won at Oral Roberts 73-68         Beat Omaha 70-46

 

USD is doing it with defense giving up a league-low 55.5 PPG

The Coyotes held Faith Ihim to 9 shots and 10 points in the win at ORU and then limited Omaha to 31% FG and the Mavs second-lowest point total of the season

The Coyotes can play 5 guards (Duffy, Trimboli, McKeever, Bradley and Arens) and they can all score (Allison Arens with 18 in each of the last two wins)

THE test is coming up on Thursday when USD plays at South Dakota State

 

“ROLLING. CAN’T WAIT FOR THURSDAY.” – Kelly Stewart
“Yotes force you to play their tempo and are tricky to defend when playing small.” – Brian Shawn
“Continues to impress setting up THE game of the week with their in-state rival.” – Greg Stemen
“This team has won 9 in a row and is just rolling over their opponents.  Toughest game of the year up next though at SDSU.” – Brad Newitt
“Survived ORU, then put Omaha away early. Big test Thursday in Frost Arena.” – Jay Elsen

 

2. South Dakota State (5-0)

Beat Western Illinois 84-48

 

That palindromic whipping of Western Illinois answers the “Is SDSU that good?” question with a resounding “Yes, they really are.”

The way they clamped down on defense was a little unexpected but very impressive

The Jacks used a 34-11 second quarter and held the Leathernecks to a season-low 23% shooting in the most lopsided loss of the year for WIU

Macy Miller scored 31 points in 26 minutes.  She is on a tear, averaging 24.5 PPG in the last four

SDSU holds steady in the national Mid-Major rankings: #3 by CollegeInsider.com and #2 by Graham Hays at espnW.com

 

“ALSO ROLLING. CAN’T WAIT FOR THURSDAY.” – Stewart again
“Dominates Western at home, along with USD is separating from the pack.” – Stemen
“Guebert and Miller are doing it night in and night out.  They have won 6 in a row, just got done whipping Western Illinois, is USD next?” – Newitt
“When post play is strong, Jacks are impossible to defend.” – Shawn

 

3. Western Illinois (4-2)

Lost at South Dakota State 84-48

 

Leathernecks head coach J.D. Gravina summed it up.  "You have to play at a very high level to compete against them at Frost Arena, and unfortunately today we were far from perfect.  It seemed like everything we did was a struggle."

Still, they have squeezed all wins in between the losses to the league leaders and expectations are that Western will continue to cruise against the rest of the league.

But the defending champs are going to have to get a W next time around against USD and/or SDSU to keep hope alive for a league championship repeat going into the Summit League tournament in March

 

“Close with ORU, but slim margin in head to head gives them advantage.” – Stemen
“League champs if they didn't have to play USD and SDSU.” – Newitt
“Losses to USD and SDSU by a combined 60 points. Yikes.” – Elsen
“SDSU blowout threw me for a loop—they’re better than that.” – Stewart

 

4. Oral Roberts (4-3)

Lost to South Dakota 73-68         Beat Denver 90-60

 

The Golden Eagles are 2-2 so far on their 6-game home stand

They let a half-time lead get away against South Dakota but came back strong and dominated Denver start to finish

ORU is another team stuck in the middle, great against the bottom half of the league and competitive but not victorious yet against the top half

 

“Solidly in Top Four of the league. Tough at home.” – Shawn
“Athletic + can see them going on a run in the second half of conference play.” – Stewart
“Dominating in win over Denver, gave USD all it could handle.” – Stemen
“Gave USD all it could handle, but couldn’t finish the job.” – Elsen
“4 tough road games left still keeps them locked in below the top 3.” – Newitt

 

5. Denver (3-3)

Won at Omaha 85-74       Lost at Oral Roberts 90-60

 

That 30-point egg at ORU brings the Pioneers back to Earth after playing well in their 3 previous games, but Denver is still on the verge of breaking into the top half of the league

Denver gets to the FT line more than anybody in the league right now and they are Top 3 in rebounding.  If they can kick their shooting numbers up a bit (38% FG, 35% 3PFG) they will continue to be a challenge every night out.

 

“Calling it now…The Pios will be the 5-seed in Sioux Falls.” – Elsen
“New coach could lead them through a decent second half of league play.” – Stewart
“3 wins and much more up tempo than in the past. Can make shots.” – Stemen
“Coach Turgeon is turning the culture around, this team could be tough to beat in their last 8 games.” – Newitt
“Pioneers up and down style fits personnel.” – Shawn

 

6. North Dakota State (1-4)

Beat Fort Wayne 72-56

The Bison move ahead of Fort Wayne after the win in Fargo on the strength of 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists by Sarah Jacobson

NDSU has a shot to make it two in a row when they go to Omaha on Wednesday

 

“Bison a tough stretch playing five of six on the road. Have five of last seven at home.” – Shawn
“Picks up a much needed win over Fort Wayne. If they guard like they need to, can gain some ground.” - Stemen
“Still a couple of wins still possible on the schedule.” – Newitt

 

7. Fort Wayne (1-6)

 

Lost at Western Illinois 91-44                 Lost at North Dakota State 72-56

 

The Dons had that win at home against Omaha but have lost their last three now by an average of 34 points

One bright spot?  Freshman Kierstyn Repp with a season-high 23 at NDSU.  She made 7/12 threes

 

“Mastodons are young and taking painful lessons, but are much better at home.” – Shawn
“Still battling and looking to improve.” – Newitt

 

8. Omaha (0-6)

Lost to Denver 85-74        Lost at South Dakota 70-46

 

An injury to Jay Bridgeman certainly doesn’t help.  She has missed the last 4 games

Head coach Brittany Lange is moving the pieces around, trying some different starting lineups but…..

The Mavs try to turn it around this Wednesday with a home game against North Dakota State

 

“Lineup changes aren’t helping. Leading scorer played 8 minutes in 24 point loss at USD.” – Elsen
“I don’t know what to say… They need to beat NDSU at home.” – Shawn
“What is going on???” - Stemen
“I don’t understand what Lange is trying to do.” – Stewart

 

HUGE GAME OF THE WEEK                    

     South Dakota at South Dakota State on Thursday

          Something’s gotta give between the two league unbeaten

                USD has won 3 of the last 5 in the series