South Dakota State Favored in #SummitWBB Preseason Poll

South Dakota State Favored in #SummitWBB Preseason Poll

ELMHURST, Ill. – Seven-time tournament champion South Dakota State edged out Western Illinois as the favorite to claim The Summit League Women's Basketball Championship in the annual preseason polling of head coaches, SIDs and select media. The Jackrabbits garnered 16-of-28 first-place votes (380 points) in one of the closest preseason polls in league history.

The Fighting Leathernecks earned the remaining 12 first-place tallies and 372 points, followed by South Dakota with 307 points. Oral Roberts placed fourth with 238 points followed by Omaha (185 points), North Dakota State (150 points), Denver (143 points) and Fort Wayne (60 points).

Reigning Player of the Year Emily Clemens of Western Illinois was tabbed Preseason Player of the Year. Last season's Tournament MVP, Clemens led The Summit League in scoring (18.9 ppg), assists (7.3 apg), steals (2.6 spg) and assist/turnover ratio (2.5) in 2016-17. Clemens set a new single-season Summit League record with 241 assists last season.

A trio of Jackrabbit student-athletes were named to the preseason all-league first team in Madison Guebert, Macy Miller and Ellie Thompson. Morgan Blumer joined her Fighting Leatherneck teammate Clemens on the first team, along with South Dakota's Allison Arens.

Additional preseason notes about Summit League Women's Basketball …

  • South Dakota State is favored to win the title for the sixth consecutive season and eighth time overall.
  • Since 1996-97, the preseason favorite has won either the regular season or tournament title in 15 of those years but has won both only three times.
  • The Preseason Player of the Year has gone on to capture Player of the Year honors 10 times in league history, including five of the last seven years.
  • Last season was the first that South Dakota State did not win either the regular season or tournament title since joining the league in 2007-08.
  • The 2017-18 season marks the first time since 2013-14 the reigning Player of the Year returns (Clemens, Western Illinois).
  • Four of the preseason first team selections (Arens, Blumer, Clemens, Guebert) were first team all-league selections a year ago. Thompson has been an all-league second team performer each of the last two seasons.
  • Preseason second team selections Taylor Higginbotham and Faith Ihim were named Second Team All-Summit a year ago, while Maria Martianez was honorable mention.
  • Four-of-five Summit League award winners return from last season: Clemens (Player of the Year), Ciara Duffy (Freshman of the Year), Blumer (Transfer of the Year) and Madison McKeever (Sixth Woman of the Year).
  • At least three Summit League teams have been selected as participants in national postseason tournaments (NCAA, WNIT, WBI) for nine consecutive years. League teams are a combined 18-13 (.581) in those tournaments the last four years, including three semifinal appearances.
  • The Summit League finished the season ranked No. 11 in the RPI, an all-time high. Four schools – South Dakota State (No. 44), Western Illinois (No. 61), IUPUI (No. 69) and South Dakota (No. 80) – finished in the Top 100 for the first time in league history.
  • The Summit League's annual Media Day teleconference is Wednesday, Oct. 11.
  • Regular season play commences Nov. 10 and the 14-game double round-robin league schedule begins Dec. 30.
  • The 2018 Summit League Women's Basketball Championship will be held March 3-6, at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Summit League Women's Basketball 2017-18 Preseason Poll
Place Team Points (1st)
1. South Dakota State 380 (16)
2. Western Illinois 372 (12)
3. South Dakota 307
4. Oral Roberts 238
5. Omaha 185
6. North Dakota State 150
7. Denver 143
8. Fort Wayne 60


Preseason Player of the Year: Emily Clemens, Western Illinois
First Team
Name School Pos. Yr. '16-17 Stats (ppg / rpg / apg)
Allison Arens South Dakota G Jr. 17.1 / 5.3 / 3.8
Morgan Blumer Western Illinois G Sr. 16.8 / 6.1 / 1.4
Emily Clemens Western Illinois G Sr. 18.9 / 4.0 / 7.3
Madison Guebert South Dakota State G Jr. 15.3 / 2.4 / 1.9
Macy Miller South Dakota State G R-Jr. 14.9 / 5.0 / 2.1
Ellie Thompson South Dakota State F Sr. 13.5 / 7.0 / 1.8
Second Team
Name School Pos. Yr. '16-17 Stats (ppg / rpg / apg)
Ciara Duffy South Dakota G So. 11.2 / 4.6 / 2.8
Taylor Higginbotham Western Illinois G Jr. 14.3 / 5.6 / 2.7
Faith Ihim Oral Roberts F Sr. 13.1 / 7.8 / 0.7
Maria Martianez Oral Roberts F Jr. 12.3 / 7.2 / 1.8
Taylor Thunstedt North Dakota State G Sr. 14.5 / 3.3 / 1.8


Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League features men's basketball teams from eight member institutions: Denver, Fort Wayne, North Dakota State, Omaha, Oral Roberts, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois with North Dakota becoming an official member for the 2018-19 season. In 2016-17, The Summit League raised its RPI for the third consecutive year, finishing with an all-time best No. 11 ranking. The Summit League has sent at least three teams to the postseason nine straight years with three postseason tournament semifinal appearances the last four years, while recording the nation's best Division I winning percentage improvement since 2009-10. Called "March's Best-Kept Secret" by USA Today, The Summit League Basketball Championships annually ranks as one of the most attended Division I conference tournaments. This season's event returns to the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., March 3-6, 2018. For more information about the league, "See The Summit" by visiting and following Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops.


2018-19 Basketball Media Day
October 19, 2018 2018-19 Basketball Media Day