The final game of the Summit League weekend will take place on Saturday between South Dakota State and USD Coyotes.

SIOUX FALLS — The first round of the basketball rivalry between USD and SDSU is scheduled for this Saturday. At 1 p.m., the Coyote men will take on the Jackrabbits, and at 6 p.m., the South Dakota State women will play USD.

Midco Sports will broadcast both of the games.

All four teams play on Thursday night, though, before they can devote their entire attention to the rivalry game. While the women of USD travel to St. Paul to play the Tommies, the men of SDSU host Omaha and the women of SDSU visit the Mavericks.

As we approach Thursday and the weekend, these are the teams’ current standings:

Men from SDSU
Despite having a rocky start to the season, the Jackrabbits were the favourite to win the Summit League this year. They have an overall record of 9-9, are 2-1 in the Summit League, and are coming off a disheartening defeat at Denver when they gave up 99 points, their first against the Pioneers since 2017.

The Jacks have leaned heavily on guard Zeke Mayo, who leads the team in scoring (18.3), rebounding (6.2) and assists (3.4) while producing a .479/.375/.811 shooting line. Sophomore center William Kyle has taken a sturdy step forward in his second season, ranking second on the team in scoring (13.4) and rebounding (5.8), while Luke Appel (10.9 points) and Charlie Easley (10.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 steals) have been productive as well.

“Obviously we didn’t play our best in Denver but since Christmas break I’ve been really pleased with our team,” stated coach Eric Henderson. “Both our intent and our connectivity have been strong. I adore our advancement. We’re improving, I believe. I believe we are near. However, on the defensive end of the court, we require a little bit more purpose, a little bit more urgency, and a little bit more pride.”

USD males
The Coyotes are 8-10 and 1-2 in the league going into Thursday night’s game. At 76.3, they’re giving up the second-most points in the conference.

With 14.1 points per game and a.422 3-point shooting percentage, Kaleb Stewart leads USD. Lahat Thioune has been a force inside, averaging 13.3 points and 10.2 rebounds. In addition to Paul Bruns (10.4 points, 4.2 rebounds) and Bostyn Holt (11.6 points, 4.9 rebounds), Isaac Bruns (7.3 points) and Max Burchill (6.1 points, 4.4 rebounds) have also performed admirably. With a margin of more than +6, the Yotes lead the league in rebounds, but they also have the highest turnover rate in the conference.

“We’ve been inconsistent with taking care of the ball, and that’s not setting yourself up for success,” Eric Peterson, the coach, said. “You lose the opportunity to score when you turn the ball over. We’re playing defence, so we have a chance; we’re just not scoring enough. We can point to a number of advantages; we’re just not there yet. The challenging aspect is that while you’re trying to improve, you have to play six of eight games away from home. Finally having some home games will be pleasant.”

With a solid non-conference schedule that included some impressive victories and several close losses to elite teams, USD women’s South Dakota enters Thursday night at 12-6 and a 1-2 league record. They won in OT away from Omaha, but they lost both their home games against Oral Roberts and NDSU.

Perhaps that will work in their favour when they visit Frost Arena and St. Thomas this coming weekend.

Against opponents in the Summit League, the Yotes’ defence hasn’t been as effective as it was during non-conference play. Despite their season average of 64.3 points allowed, USD gave up 84, 71, and 91 points in their three league games.

Grace Larkins, who leads the club in scoring (16.9), rebounds (7.5), assists (a league-high 5.4), and steals (1.6) while shooting, is once again opposed to carrying the bulk of the load for USD.505/.386/.812.

Coach Kayla Karius’s top secondary contributors have been Kendall Holmes (11.1 points) and Tori DePerry (9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds), but the second-year coach would prefer to see more edge from her players.

Karius remarked, “We’re missing that killer instinct.” You need to acquire that knowledge, and you can’t just rely on one person to accomplish it. Everyone must perform their duties. There is a lot of discussion about seeing film, returning to drill, and honing our defence.”

The final game of the Summit League weekend will take place on Saturday between South Dakota State and USD Coyotes.

SDSU Women
The Jacks are clicking thanks to a young team that is starting to play with confidence and a defence that is always formidable. They are 11-5 overall, 3-0 in the league, and riding a five-game winning streak. They have lost to ranked teams four times out of their five games; their fifth loss was at Wisconsin.

With Brooklyn ranking fifth in the league in scoring (15.4), second in rebounding (8.8), and first in blocks (2.3), and Paige Meyer (no relation) ranking second in scoring (15.2), seventh in assists (3.5) and seventh in steals (1.7), Brooklyn and Paige have been the mainstays of the team.

Guard Madison Mathiowetz has really improved, averaging 14.8 points over her last five games and 10.8 points for the season. Senior Tori Nelson is still a force to be reckoned with at both ends (7.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 blocks).

According to coach Aaron Johnston, “I think we’ve all grown in our roles.” Even some of our returners are starting and playing 30 minutes a game, which is different from what they were required to do in the past. “Early in the year, the roles weren’t necessarily different, but we had so many new players in those roles. I give our guys a lot of credit since they have all improved greatly in their duties.”