#SummitWBB Weekly Notebook: No. 18 – Championship Preview

#SummitWBB Weekly Notebook: No. 18 – Championship Preview

By: Kelly Shipp

Weekly Notebook 18 W/ Stats | Live Coverage Links

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The postseason upon us and The Summit League Basketball Championships will tip-off on Saturday, March 9 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Championship event will conclude on Tuesday, March 12 with the tournament champion earning The Summit League's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

South Dakota State earned the championships No. 1 seed after winning their sixth regular season title, tying the league record. They will take out No. 8 seed Purdue Fort Wayne at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Also playing on Saturday will be No. 2 seed South Dakota and No. 7 seed North Dakota State. Playing on Sunday will be No. 4 Oral Roberts against No. 5 Western Illinois and No. 3 Denver against No. 6 North Dakota.

The Opening Tip

Denver's Madison Nelson has quietly put together an impressive junior campaign for the Pioneers. Nelson earned her 10th double-double of the season against Omaha to become the first Summit League women's basketball student-athlete to earn at-least 10 double-doubles in a season since the 2015-16 season. Nelson helped guide her squad to a 2-0 record to close out the regular season and finish in a tie for third, Denver's best Summit League finish.

Nationally Ranked

The University of South Dakota remained in the USA Today/WBCA Top 25 for the fourth consecutive week, coming in at No. 25 for the second straight week. Both South Dakota and South Dakota State are on the cusp of cracking the AP Top 25 as USD came in at No. 26 and SDSU at No. 27. If both teams enter the AP Top 25 it will be the first time in League history that two women's basketball teams are nationally ranked at the same time in any major poll.

Championship Notes

• The higher seed in all four opening round games went 2-0 against their opponent during their regular season meetings

• The No. 1 seed in The Summit League Women's Basketball Championship has struggled to win the tournament championship. In the last five tournaments, only Western Illinois in the 2017 championship won the title as the No. 1 seed. In that same time frame, the No. 1 seed has lost three times in the championship game

• The No. 2 seed has walked away with the tournament crown three times in the last four years. All three times it was No. 2 South Dakota State defeating No. 1 seed, South Dakota

• The last time neither the No. 1 or No. 2 seed made the finals was in 2013-14 when No. 4 South Dakota defeated No. 6 Denver

• Since the inception of the Summit League tournament in 1993, the lowest seed to ever win the title was No. 6 Oakland in 2006 when they upset No. 1 Western Illinois

• Number of tournament championships by seed since 1993: No. 1 (9), No. 2 (8), No. 3 (3), No. 4 (5), No. 5 (n/a), No. 6 (1), No. 7 (n/a), No. 8 (n/a)

• South Dakota State has won eight of the 10 tournament championships since the championship moved to Sioux Falls in 2009. The only other teams to win a title in Sioux Falls are South Dakota (2014) and Western Illinois (2017)

• SDSU's Macy Miller has been named the championship MVP twice in her career. She is one of only four players to earn two MVP awards. The others were Oral Roberts' Krista Ragan (1999 and 2001), Elisha Turek (2005 and 2007) and South Dakota's Nicole Seekamp (2013 and 2015). No student-athlete has ever won the award three times in a career and no one has won it in back-to-back seasons

Things to Watch

South Dakota State's Macy Miller is just 55-points away from The Summit League's career scoring record. The senior has scored 2,223 career points entering The Summit League Championship event and is chasing Oral Roberts' Kevi Luper who scored 2,277 points between 2009-12. For the season Miller is averaging 17.4 points per game

Denver's Lauren Loven broke The Summit League's single-season made three-pointers record with 100 against Western Illinois on Feb. 28. She passed Oral Roberts' Jaci Bigham who made 99 threes' during the 2009-10 season. Loven currently has 103 made threes on the season. Loven also moved into the top-10 for made three's in a career with 241. She passed Valparaiso's Suzie Hammel for 10th all-time

Western Illinois' Taylor Higginbotham is ranked ninth on The Summit League's all-time list for made three's in a career with 245. She is four made threes from tying Purdue Fort Wayne's Jordan Zuppe for eighth and South Dakota State's Kristin Rotert for seventh all-time

 

Summit League Notes

Denver

• Denver enters the Summit League Tournament with a 17-12 overall record and a 10-6 Summit League record

• The Pioneers finished third in the Summit League standings, their best finish as members of the league and best overall finish since finishing fourth in the Sun Belt

• Denver's 17 wins are their most since winning 18 in 2011-12

• Denver went 2-0 against North Dakota during the regular season, averaging 89.5 points in their two games against each other. The Pioneers outscored the Fighting Hawks 179-157 in those games

 

North Dakota

• North Dakota enters the Summit League Tournament with an 11-18 overall record and a 6-10 Summit League record

• The Fighting Hawks, in their first season as members of The Summit League, earned the No. 6 seed in the Championship event

• UND senior forward Lexi Klabo has had a memorable senior campaign, tying for the league lead in 25-point games and 10-rebound games. She also had the second most double-doubles with 8

• North Dakota went 0-2 against Denver during the regular season. They were outscored by the Pioneers by 11-points in those meetings while averaging 78.5 points per game

 

North Dakota State

• North Dakota State enters the Summit League Championships with a 7-21 overall record and a 4-12 Summit League record

• The Bison earned the No. 7 seed and will play No. 2 South Dakota on Saturday

• NDSU enters the tournament having lost nine of their last t10 games

• Bison sophomore Michelle Gaislerova led her squad with 14.8 points per game, scoring in double-digits in 22 of 28 games

• North Dakota State was 0-2 against South Dakota during the year. They were outscored 143 to 98, averaging just 49.0 points per game

 

Omaha

• Omaha's 2018-19 season came to an end with their loss at Denver. The Mavericks finished the year with an 8-21 overall record and a 2-14 Summit League record

• Elena Pilakouta ended the year with back-to-back double-doubles

• Claire Killian hit a career-high five 3-pointers against Denver

• Rayanna Carter set a season-high with seven assists

 

Oral Roberts

• Oral Roberts enters the Summit League Tournament with a 17-12 overall record and a 10-6 Summit League record

• The Golden Eagles finished the regular season in a tie for third-place with Denver

• ORU earned the No. 4 seed in the Championship event because Denver owned the tiebreak based on their win against South Dakota

• Oral Roberts 10 league wins are their most since earning 10 during the 2015-16 season

• ORU will open the tournament against Western Illinois on Sunday

• Oral Roberts was 2-0 against Western Illinois during the regular season. The Golden Eagles outscored the Leathernecks 160 to 149 in those two games. ORU averaged 80.0 points against the WIU

 

Purdue Fort Wayne

• Purdue Fort Wayne enters the Summit League Tournament with a 7-21 overall record and a 3-13 Summit League record

• The Mastodons secured their spot in the championship event with their 66-46 win against North Dakota State and an Omaha loss at Denver on the final day of competition

• Purdue Fort Wayne's three league wins are their most since winning three during the 2015-16 season

• Purdue Fort Wayne went 0-2 against South Dakota State during the regular season. They were outscored 177 to 120 in their two meetings while averaging 60 points per game

 

South Dakota

• South Dakota enters the Summit League Championships with a 26-4 overall record and a 14-2 Summit League record

• The Coyotes earned the No. 2 seed and will play No. 7 North Dakota State on Saturday

• USD has been either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in back-to-back Summit League tournaments and four of the last five championship events

• In Summit League play South Dakota has been virtually unbeatable at home, winning 18-straight home league games and 41 of their last 42 games dating back to the 2014-15 season

• Under head coach Dawn Plitzuweit, South Dakota is 4-3 in the Summit League tournament

• South Dakota went 2-0 against North Dakota State during the year. USD outscored the Bison by 22-points in those games, averaging 71.5 points per game

 

South Dakota State

• South Dakota State enters the Summit League Championships with a 23-6 overall record and a 15-1 record in the Summit League

• The Jackrabbits won their sixth Summit League regular season title, tying Western Illinois for the most in Summit League Women's Basketball history. This was SDSU's first regular-season crown since the 2013-14 season

• SDSU earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming championship event and will be going for their ninth tournament championship and fourth in the last five years

• South Dakota State was 2-0 against Purdue Fort Wayne during the year. They outscored the Mastodons by 28.5 points while averaging 88.5 points per game

 

Western Illinois

• Western Illinois enters the Summit League Championships with a 12-17 overall record and an 8-8 Summit League record

• The Leathernecks earned the No. 5 seed in the tournament

• They will take on No. 4 seed Oral Roberts on Sunday

• Western Illinois has lost four straight games after winning seven of their previous eight games

• Western Illinois was 0-2 against Oral Roberts during the regular season. The Leathernecks were outscored by 5.5 in those games. WIU averaged 74.5 points against the Golden Eagles

 

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