SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – March Madness is here and The Summit League Basketball Championship tip-off Saturday, March 7 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. The four-day event concludes Tuesday with the title game set to air on ESPNU at 1 p.m. CT. The Summit League's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
South Dakota has earned the No. 1 seed after winning its fourth regular-season title and finishing the regular season 16-0. The Coyotes will take on No. 8 seed Omaha at 12 p.m. CT on Saturday. Also making its first appearance at the tournament will be No. 2 seed South Dakota State matching up with No. 7 seed North Dakota on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Kicking off the second day of the championship will be No. 4 Oral Roberts against No. 5 Western Illinois at 12 p.m. CT followed by No. 3 Denver facing No. 6 North Dakota State at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Denver, Oral Roberts, and Western Illinois tied for third place in the standings with 9-7 league records. The Pioneers, who defeated WIU 84-78, earned the No. 3 seed based on their 72-62 victory over South Dakota State on Feb. 13. Oral Roberts picked up the No. 4 seed based on a season sweep over North Dakota while Western Illinois split against the Fighting Hawks, thus earning the Leathernecks the No. 5 seed.
Where to Watch
All men's and women's games at The Summit League Basketball Championships can be viewed live across multiple platforms ranging from cable television to handheld devices. The coverage by Midco Sports Network and ESPN platforms marks the 11th consecutive season that both the men's and women's tournaments are available in their entirety. MidcoSN's involvement dates back to 2010 while the women's title game has aired on ESPNU for the 12th straight year.
Things to Watch
- Denver senior Lauren Loven was named to the 2019-20 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award preseason watch list after a record-setting year. During the 2018-19 season, she set a new school and league record with 111 made 3-pointers. The senior guard shot 44.4 percent from behind the arc to lead The Summit League and tied for fourth in program history and 15th in league history for a single season.
- Loven is moving up the league's career charts in 3-point field goals made. She currently ranks second all-time with 340.
- South Dakota senior Ciara Duffy was named a semifinalist for the Her Hoop Stats Inaugural Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year award.
- Duffy continues to lead the Coyotes all around ranking in the top five in the league in points per game, 3-point percentage, free throw percentage and assists per game. She is averaging 17.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game and 5.2 assists on the season.
Top 25 National Rankings
- South Dakota women's basketball entered the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time this season at No. 25 back on Dec. 17. It marks the third time in program history the Coyotes have made the AP Top 25, following a two-week stint last February. The Coyotes currently ranks No. 17.
- South Dakota has already been ranked for twelve weeks in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. The Coyotes entered the coaches' poll on Dec. 3 and moved up to No. 12. This marks the highest ranking ever, in either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches' Poll, by a Summit League women's basketball team.
- South Dakota and South Dakota State are ranked in CollegeInsider.com's Top-25 Mid-Major Poll with South Dakota at No. 1 and South Dakota State at No. 13.
- Oral Roberts' Keni Jo Lippe dropped a career-high 46 points in the Golden Eagles' overtime victory over North Dakota State on Feb. 9. Her career-high broke the Summit League single-game scoring record surpassing ORU women's basketball All-American Kevi Luper.
- Lippe's 46 points are the second-most points scored in a single game by a Division I women's basketball player so far this season.
- North Dakota State's Michelle Gaislerova broke the NCAA Division I recorded for most consecutive free throws with 72-straight makes.
- Gaislerova entered the game against North Dakota with 74 consecutive made free throws. She made her first attempt of the game to extend the record to 75 before missing her second, snapping a streak that reached back to December 2018.
- She currently sits third on the all-time NCAA record list sitting only behind a pair of NCAA Division II totals of 118 and 78.
30-Plus Point Club
- The month of December saw four league players notch 30-plus point games to help their respective teams to victories.
- On Dec. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne's Hannah Albrecht dropped a career-high 30 points to help the Mastodons to a come-from-behind 67-64 victory over Evansville.
- Denver's Lauren Loven poured in a season-high 31 points after shooting 55.6 percent (10-for-18) from the field and 5-for10 from behind the arc to help the Pioneers to an 81-73 victory over Southern Utah on Dec. 16.
- On Dec. 17. Western Illinois' Olivia Kaufmann notched a career-high 30 points on 7-for-15 from the field and 13-for18 from the charity stripe to help propel the Leathernecks to a 97-91 victory over SEMO.
- On Dec. 29, on the opening day of league play, Madison Nelson led Denver to a 91-82 win over North Dakota State after recording a career-high 31 points along with 12 rebounds.
- On Feb. 2, in South Dakota and Denver's second meeting of league play, senior Ciara Duffy surpassed the 30-point mark for the first time in her career. She finished with a career-high 31 points to lead the Coyotes to a 92-60 victory.
- On Feb. 15, Denver's Loven notched her second game of 30-plus points this season. The senior knocked down a career-high nine 3s in a single-game for a game-high 31 points. Her nine 3s is the second-most in a single game in school history.
- On Feb. 27, the Pioneer's Madison Nelson recorded at career-high 34 points to guided Denver to an 85-67 win over Purdue Fort Wayne. Her 34 points ties the program's Division I record for most points in a single game.
UPCOMING Championship Schedule ( game times Central)
Quarterfinals | Saturday, March 7
Q1: (1) South Dakota vs. (8) Omaha | 12 p.m.
Q2: (2) South Dakota State vs. (7) North Dakota | 2:30 p.m.
Quarterfinals | Sunday, March 8
Q3: (4) Oral Roberts) vs. (5) Western Illinois | 12 p.m.
Q4: (3) Denver vs. (6) North Dakota State | 2:30 p.m.
Semifinals | Monday, March 9
S1: Q1 winner vs. Q3 winner | 12 p.m.
S2: Q2 winnner vs Q4 winner | 2:30 p.m.
Championship | Monday, March 10
F: S1 winner vs S2 winner | 1 p.m.
NOTING THE PIONEERS
- The Pioneers ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak after defeating Purdue Fort Wayne 85-67 and Western Illinois 84-78.
- The Pios' two wins in the final week of the regular season helped earn them the No. 3 seed at the tournament.
- The Pioneers finished third in the Summit League standings for the second consecutive time. They entered last year's tournament as the No. 3 seed.
- Denver went 1-1 against North Dakota State during the regular season beating the Bison by nine in the first meeting and losing by five in overtime in the second.
NOTING THE FIGHTING HAWKS
- North Dakota heads into the tournament as the No. 7 seed after splitting on the week having beaten Omaha 71-67 and falling to South Dakota 76-47.
- The Fighting Hawks are making their second-consecutive appearance at the tournament. Last year they earned the No. 6 seed.
- North Dakota will meet No. 2 South Dakota State in the opening round of The Summit League tournament.
- In the second meeting between the two, North Dakota went blow-for-blow with South Dakota State and was only trailing by three at halftime, 31-28.
- South Dakota State came out on top taking a 13 point advantage to claim the victory.
NOTING THE BISON
- North Dakota State earned the No. 6 seed at the tournament after finishing the regular season with a 7-9 record.
- The Bison ended the regular season with a split after losing to South Dakota State 85-58 and defeating Omaha 67-64.
- North Dakota State is led by junior Michelle Gaislerova who is averaging 13.1 points per game and 98.2 percent from the charity stripe.
- The Bison will meet up with No. 3 seed Denver in the first round of the tournament.
- North Dakota State split on the season with the Pioneers losing by nine in the first meeting and coming out with an 85-80 overtime win in Fargo.
NOTING THE MAVERICKS
- Omaha finished the regular season holding a 2-14 league record after falling to North Dakota 71-67 and North Dakota State 67-64 in the final week of the regular season.
- The Mavericks will be the No. 8 seed at The Summit League Basketball Tournament and will face No. 1 South Dakota in the opening round.
- South Dakota has outscored Omaha 148-83, averaging 41.5 points per game.
- Leading the efforts for the Mavericks is sophomore Mariah Murdie with 11.1 points per game and shooting on a 52.8 field goal percentage.
NOTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
- Oral Roberts finished the regular season notching two straight victories and claiming the No. 4 seed at the basketball tournament.
- The Golden Eagle defeated Western Illinois 71-60 and Purdue Fort Wayne 96-59 to close out the regular season.
- Oral Roberts will see Western Illinois in the opening round of the tournament for the second consecutive year.
- The Golden Eagles split with the Leathernecks 1-1 during the regular season. ORU lost by 14 at WIU in the first meeting of the season and won by 11 on Feb. 27 during the final week of the regular season.
- Oral Roberts is led by junior guard Keni Jo Lippe who is averaging 18.6 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles.
NOTING THE MASTODONS
- Purdue Fort Wayne's season came to an end after falling to Denver 85-67 and Oral Roberts 96-59.
- Hannah Albrecht led the Mastodon scorers against Omaha finishing with 13 points. Right behind Albrecht was Sh'Toya Sanders chipping in 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks and three steals.
- Albrecht turned around and notched 15 points against the Pioneers en route to her 1,000th career point.
- Joining in the efforts was Shayla Sellers who tallied a season-high against a Division I opponent 14 points and Riley Ott with 13.
- The Mastodons had a season-low eight turnovers while forcing Denver in 14 miscues.
NOTING THE COYOTES
- South Dakota finished the regular season undefeated and became the only program to run the table in Summit League history twice with its first coming in 2018.
- The Coyotes enter the league tournament as the No. 1 seed and will face No. 8 Omaha in the opening round.
- South Dakota has either been the No. 1 or the No. 2 seed in the last three Summit League tournaments and a part of five of the last six championship events.
- Under head coach Dawn Plitzuweit, South Dakota is 6-4 in the tournament.
- The Coyotes went 2-0 against Omaha during the season outscoring the Mavericks 148-83, averaging 41.5 points per game.
NOTING THE JACKRABBITS
- South Dakota State finished the regular season with an 85-58 victory over North Dakota State. The Jackrabbits' 13-3 record earned them the No. 2 spot at the tournament.
- The Jackrabbits will be going for their tenth tournament championship and fifth in the last six years.
- South Dakota State will meet North Dakota in the second quarterfinal game of the tournament.
- The Jacks are 2-0 against the Fighting Hawks and were one point shy of eclipsing 100 points in their first meeting. The second meeting between the two, SDSU came out on top taking a 13 point advantage to claim the victory.
- The Jacks are led by sophomore Paiton Burckhard's 14.5 points per game and her 53.5 field goal percentage.
NOTING THE LEATHERNECKS
- Western Illinois claimed the No. 5 seed in the tournament after falling to Oral Roberts 71-60 and Denver 84-78 to finish the regular season.
- It is the second consecutive year that the Leathernecks enter the tournament as the No. 5 seed and will match up with No. 4 Oral Roberts in the first round.
- WIU split during the regular season with ORU defeating the Golden Eagles by 14 inside Western Hall. In the second-to-last game of the regular season, the Leathernecks fell short in Tulsa giving ORU the win.
- The Leathernecks are guided by senior guard Olivia Kaufmann who is averaging 16.7 points per game and 3.4 assists.