Blog

Summit League Women’s Hoops: A Non-Conference Analysis

Christmas is less than a week away, we’re about to start a new decade, and oh yeah...it’s already (almost) time for Summit League play of the 2019-20 hoops season. We’ve now had a variety of opportunities to see what each of the Summit League squads is bringing into the new year, so I went ahead and ran the “eye test” (well, I went a little deeper than that) on each of the league’s women’s teams.

Now, whether you agree or disagree with the following points, let’s all take a step back and remember – it’s about who’s playing their best basketball in March, amirite? Needless to say, all arrows are pointing to this season being another fun few months of hoops in the Summit League.

DENVER

2019-20 Record (Through December 18): 6-5

RPI: 262

Games remaining before conference play:

  • vs. Akron (12/20), vs. Western Michigan (12/21)--both games are at the Puerto Rico Classic

Notable Wins:

  • 71-57 W vs. Wyoming on 11/14
    • A nice “bounce back” after the loss to New Mexico St. (see below)
    • Wyoming’s current RPI is 173
    • 17 assists on 23 made field goals = poetry in motion
  • 81-73 W vs. Southern Utah on 12/16
    • Southern Utah’s RPI is 177
    • DU shot 46.7% FG and got to the line 31 TIMES (21-31)

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 75-78 loss vs. New Mexico State on 11/9

OVERALL NOTES:

Having a non-conference record of 6-5 is somewhat underwhelming for a team picked third in the Summit League preseason poll. But...the first two L’s of the season? They came by four points and three points, respectively. The loss to Alabama A&M was by just three points as well. Throughout non-con play so far, Denver is scoring it well, getting to the free-throw line extremely well, and rebounding at a high level (especially on the offensive glass). Sure, they might not have gotten rolling as fast as they would have liked, but this is a dangerous team that will fare just fine in conference play.

NORTH DAKOTA

2019-20 Record: 7-3

RPI: 111

Games remaining before conference play:

  • At Milwaukee on 12/21
  • At New Orleans on 12/28

Notable Wins:

  • 67-61 win vs. Rhode Island on 11/15
    • Rhode Island is 7-3 on the year with an RPI of 117

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 58-66 loss to Illinois State on 11/24
    • I don’t consider this a “bad loss” at all--it’s one of those games where you lose by 8 points to a team that’s now 6-2 and has an RPI of 24 (aka--the RedBirds are good)
    • So...it’s one you’d like back in terms of the opportunity to make a few more plays and beat a good team
  • 51-66 loss at SMU on 12/9
    • This was a late add to the schedule, but SMU is currently 4-4 on the year with an RPI of 194
    • UND was outscored 47-22 in the second half and got out-rebounded by 19
    • North Dakota currently leads the Summit League in rebounding at 46.3 RPG, so that stat hurts.

OVERALL NOTES:

We were all interested to see how UND would be this year after losing Lexi Klabo to graduation. Welp, they’re looking just fine. They rebound the ball extremely well and have a fairly balanced attack offensively. I like the freshman-to-sophomore growth by Jaclyn Jarnot (10.9 ppg/7.3 RPG). However, UND definitely needs to cut down on the turnovers as we head into Summit League play (currently 7th worst in the league at 17.8 TO per game).

NORTH DAKOTA STATE:

2019-20 Record: 2-9

RPI: 271

Games remaining before conference play (Division I only):

  • None

Notable Wins:

  • 67-61 win vs. New Hampshire on 12/1
    • Hey, it’s the only Division I for the Bison’s non-conference slate, but a win is a win!
    • This win marked head coach Jory Collins’ 200th career win--solid milestone.

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 63-64 loss to Wisconsin on 11/8
    • Wisconsin is a 7-3 team with an RPI of 64
  • 64-70 loss AT Bradley on 12/5
    • Bradley is a 7-1 team with an RPI of 52

OVERALL NOTES:

New coach, new systems, new everything. Good things take time. Despite the 2-9 record, there have been glimpses of “good to come” from the Bison. I know you can’t put too much stock in one game, but I was impressed by NDSU in the game against Wisconsin. The game before that, they lost to a very good Bradley team by just six points on the road. To me, that means things are starting to click with all of the “new-ness” of this season as we head into conference play. Don’t sleep on the Bison – they’ll surprise some people this season.

OMAHA:

2019-20 Record: 5-8

RPI: 263

Games remaining before conference play:

  • None

Notable Wins:

  • 57-53 vs. Kansas City on 12/4
    • Kansas City is a 5-6 team with a 158 RPI
    • The Roos also have a win over Missouri this season

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 54-67 loss to Creighton on 11/5
    • This was the season opener for both teams and was as close as an eight-point game in the 4th quarter
    • Creighton has since gone on to have quite the start to the year--the Bluejays are 8-2 with an RPI of 7

OVERALL NOTES:

While the Mavericks boast a balanced scoring attack, they do not have any players in double figures. However, there is something to be said for their perimeter defense – Omaha is holding teams to just 31.0% from deep range while also outrebounding teams by 5.5 RPG. They have played around with some different lineup combinations on the floor, and once things get clicking offensively, they could surprise some people.

ORAL ROBERTS:

2019-20 Record: 4-7

RPI: 222

Games remaining before conference play:

  • At Oklahoma State on 12/20

Notable Wins:

  • 63-57 win vs. Texas State on 11/8
    • Texas State RPI: 106
  • 79-66 win vs. Wichita State on 11/11
    • Wichita State RPI: 143
  • 64-41 win vs. Sam Houston State on 11/30
    • SHSU RPI: 193

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 67-65 loss at Tulsa on 11/21
    • Of course, you never want to lose to your cross-town rival, and it stings, even more, when it’s by only two points.
    • Tulsa hasn’t been off to the greatest non-conference start (3-8 on the year, RPI of 274)

OVERALL NOTES:

ORU always seems to surprise some people and be a difficult match-up come conference time. Junior guard, Keni Jo Lippe, and redshirt-senior guard, Rylie Torrey, are a dynamic duo, averaging 18.9 ppg and 14.3 ppg, respectively. Those two also have an incredible knack for getting to the foul line. If the Golden Eagles can lock it in on defense, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the top half of the Summit League.

PURDUE-FORT WAYNE:

2019-20 Record: 4-8

RPI: 335

Games remaining before conference play:

  • At Butler on 12/22

Notable Wins:

  • 67-64 win vs. Evansville on 12/13
    • This was a come-from-behind battle by the Mastodons, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the game
    • Senior guard, Hannah Albrecht, went for a career-high 30 points on 9-17 shooting (5-8 from 3PT) which ultimately helped earn her the Summit League Player of the Week honor for the current week (the first POW honor of her career)

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 75-67 loss to Kent State at the Akron Classic on 11/16
    • Kent State is currently 5-3 with an RPI of 71
    • P-FW let KSU get to the line 26 times in the game--far too many opportunities to give up in an eight-point game

OVERALL NOTES:

Purdue-Fort Wayne has some explosive scorers that can potentially go off at any time, depending on who has the hot hand. Though not shooting a great percentage from three-point range (31.6%), they’re holding opponents to just 29.9% from beyond the arc. In a league that has a lot of great outside shooters, that could end up being very important to pick up some wins.

No. 25/21 SOUTH DAKOTA:

2019-20 Record: 11-1

RPI: 19

Games remaining before conference play:

  • At No. 5 South Carolina on 12/22

Notable Wins:

  • 66-60 win at Green Bay on 11/9
  • 102-94 OT win vs. Drake on 11/13
  • 84-81 OT win at Utah on 11/16
  • 72-56 win vs. Missouri on 11/21
  • 68-53 win vs. Ohio State on 11/29 (Las Vegas South Point Shootout)
  • 72-65 win vs. Creighton on 11/4

Games You’d Like Back:

  • Just one to pick from here--the 66-74 loss to RV/No. 22 Missouri State on 11/25.
    • This was a great game, and credit the Missouri State defense, but they made things hard on Ciara Duffy and Chloe Lamb, in particular.
    • The Bears also held USD to just 35.3% shooting and only allowed South Dakota to get to the line 12 times
    • WITH ALL OF THAT SAID, if either Duffy or Lamb even have a somewhat normal shooting night, it’s a whole different ballgame

OVERALL NOTES:

When USD released their nonconference schedule, I think a lot of us went, “Welp...wow. That’s tough.” It was tough, but so is this team, and they’ve been on a tear throughout November and December. When you watch USD play, you notice them doing the little things that good teams do, and you truly see a brand of team basketball. This team is something special, and I’m excited about their non-con finale against No. 5 South Carolina on Sunday. Ask anyone on the team – they have some boxes they still want to check before the season is over, and they’re going to put in the work to check them.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE:

2019-20 Record: 6-6

RPI: 119

Games remaining before conference play:

  • At Green Bay on 12/21

Notable Wins:

  • 61-50 win over No. 21/20 South Florida on 11/28 (Cancun Challenge)
  • 65-59 win over Notre Dame on 11/29 (Cancun Challenge)

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 70-71 loss to Florida Gulf Coast on 11/30 (Cancun Challenge)
    • This one came down to the wire (clearly)--SDSU was up by two with 25 seconds to go but ended up fouling a shooter on a three-pointer (who proceeded to make all three free throws to put FGCU up by 1).
    • SDSU then responded with a jumper by Myah Selland with nine seconds left, but FGCU knocked in one of their own with six seconds left on a fastbreak to take the game by one.

OVERALL NOTES:

SDSU always reloads. It’s just a known fact. Sure, not many Jacks fans can remember the last time the team was barely over .500 during non-conference play, but I’m not worried about South Dakota State. It doesn’t matter how many times you practice in the summer and gets your team together--when you lose a senior class like the Jacks had last year (Macy Miller, Madi Guebert and Sydney Palmer), it’s going to take some games in the early part of the next season to adjust. SDSU will hit their stride and be just fine.

WESTERN ILLINOIS:

2019-20 Record: 6-5

RPI: 187

Games remaining before conference play:

  • vs. Southern Illinois on 12/19 (tonight)

Notable Wins:

  • 88-78 win at Chicago State on 12/7
  • 97-91 win vs. Southeast Missouri State on 12/17
  • Why are these notable? Back to back Division I wins as we close out a non-conference play (and high-scoring)

Games You’d Like Back:

  • 59-66 loss at Purdue on 11/17
    • Purdue is an 8-3 team with an RPI of 71
    • The Boilermakers held WIU to just 59 points on 32.9% shooting, while WIU is averaging 77.1 ppg on the year and shooting 40.0%
    • In a seven-point loss, even shooting a small percentage closer to their average makes it an entirely different ballgame
    • Purdue also did a great job of keeping WIU off the line (Leathernecks were 5-7 FT for the game)

OVERALL NOTES:

Year after year, WIU is always a dangerous team because of their style of play. They’ll shoot passing lanes, fire up shots early in the shot clock – and just go-go-go. Everyone in their offense has the green light, which can be scary. For a team that gets up this many shots per game (67.0 on average – 1st in the Summit League), it’s hard to read too much into non-con play because once a team like that hits its stride, points come in bunches (which we’ve seen glimpses of already).

More Summit League Action 

Summit League coverage: Blogs & Podcasts | YouTube

Full MidcoSN live game schedule

MidcoSN Summit League coverage on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Filed Under College | North Dakota State University | South Dakota State University | University of North Dakota | University of South Dakota | Summit League