Five women's players to watch that aren't from South Dakota State
We know the Jacks are loaded — who else can influence the tournament in a big way?
SIOUX FALLS — South Dakota State is the favorite to win the Summit League women's tournament.
A heavy, heavy favorite. They went 18-0 in conference play, they've won 49 of their last 50 Summit League games, and they'll enjoy a decided home-court advantage in Sioux Falls at the Premier Center.
When it comes to the league's best players, the Jackrabbits have plenty.
There's senior Myah Selland, the Summit's most accomplished and reliable all-around player. There's Paiton Burckhard, who's played more games than anyone at the tournament, and then there are emerging stars like guards Paige Meyer and Haleigh Timmer and forward Kallie Theisen.
But we pretty much know all about the Jacks and their deep and talented roster.
Is there anyone in the Summit League who can bring enough game to stun the Jacks? In all honesty, it seems unlikely. But here are the best players in the league that will look to take down SDSU:
Grace Larkins, USD
She does it all. She's third in the league in scoring (17.5), third in rebounds (7.9), second in assists (4.5), third in steals (2.0), sixth in 3-pointers (49) and geez, she's even ninth in blocked shots (20). A perpetual triple-double threat, Larkins was the Summit Sixth Woman of the Year on last year's Sweet 16 squad, and this year, has done all the heavy lifting to get USD to the conference's 4-seed.
Hannah Cooper, ORU
The league's leading scorer with 20.3 points per game, Cooper can score it at the basket, she's made 22 3-pointers, she's scored more points at the free throw line than anyone else in the conference and she's also third in the league in assists.
Oh, and she gets it done on defense, too, leading the Summit with 2.4 steals per game.
Kacie Borowicz, UND
The 5-9 senior guard has been perhaps the league's most dynamic guard for the last two years. She averaged 19.4 points last year and this season is second in the conference in scoring at 20.1 a game while leading the Summit with 4.8 assists.
She's second in the league in free throws made (131) and free throw percentage (.862), after last year shooting a ridiculous .957 at the stripe.
Heaven Hamling, NDSU
An Minnesota prep star at Grand Rapids, Hamling began her career at Stephen F. Austin, but since transferring to NDSU she's helped lead the Bison back into contention.
Headed towards her third all-Summit league honor, Hamling has had her best year as a senior, ranking fourth in the league with a career-high 16.5 points per game and sinking 71 3-pointers, second most in the conference. She's sixth in assists (3.7) and second in steals (2.2) and was at her best down the stretch, as she led the Bison to wins in their last four games to snag the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Makayla Minett, Denver
A 6-foot-3 post who began her career at Howard, Minett showed promise last year as a junior and this season emerged as arguably the Summit League's most intimidating inside presence.
Her 72 blocked shots are almost twice as many as anyone else in the conference, and she averages 9.1 rebounds, including 3.7 offensive boards per game. And while defense is her specialty, Minnet can score, too, averaging 8.5 points on .548 shooting.