Summit League women's basketball tournament field, at a glance
A quick look at all 10 teams in the women's tournament
SIOUX FALLS — The 10-team Summit League women's basketball tournament hits Sioux Falls on Friday, with five days and 13 games coming to a close with the conference championship game at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7 at the Premier Center.
Here's a look at every team in the women's bracket:
NOTE: NET rankings as of Feb. 27.
No. 1 South Dakota State
Records: 25-5, 18-0 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 37
Coach: Aaron Johnston, 23rd season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Jacks are 30-5 all-time in the Summit League tournament, with three losses to USD. SDSU has won the Summit League tournament title nine times but the last came in 2019. The three-year span of USD titles is the longest SDSU has gone without a tournament title since becoming NCAA eligible in 2009.
Story of their season: The Jackrabbits have hardly missed a beat off of last season’s WNIT campaign, running the table in the Summit League for the second time in three seasons. The senior duo of Myah Selland and Paiton Burckhard continue to lead the Jacks, sophomore Haleigh Timmer is second on the team in scoring and Paige Meyer has returned off a knee injury to average nearly 10 points a game. Tori Nelson has been a steady starter for the Jacks and Utah transfer guard Dru Gylten has provided a steady presence for the Jacks in the backcourt. SDSU has four wins between Quad 1 and Quad 2 for NCAA tournament appearances, likely helping the Jacks’ cause for seeding.
One fact to know: No other team in the conference has played more on a neutral court this season, as the Jacks are 3-2 in those contests. SDSU won twice in the Bahamas, including a win over then-No. 10 Louisville, which is on the verge of climbing back into the top-25. SDSU also beat then-No. 24 Kansas State in Kansas City and lost to No. 1 South Carolina in Sioux Falls.
No. 2 North Dakota State
Records: 18-10, 12-6 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 176
Coach: Jory Collins, fourth season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Bison are 3-13 all-time in the Summit League tournament, including 3-10 in quarterfinal games. NDSU last advanced in the tournament in 2021 when they won a quarterfinal game and were eliminated by South Dakota.
Story of their season: Picked to finish fifth in the conference in the preseason, the Bison saw things work well in Collins’ fourth season leading NDSU, which is having its best season in more than a decade. Behind guard Heaven Hamlin and freshman Elle Evans, NDSU had a pair of four-game winning streaks, including the latest that they rode into the Summit League tournament.
One fact to know: NDSU reached 10 wins in the Summit League for the first time since 2010.
No. 3 North Dakota
Records: 18-10, 11-7 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 179
Coach: Mallory Bernhard, third season.
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Fighting Hawks won their debut game in Sioux Falls in 2019 over Denver, a 6-over-3 upset by seed, before falling to USD. Their game on Sunday will be UND’s third since then, after missing out on the tournament in 2021 and losing in 2022 to Oral Roberts in the quarterfinals.
Story of their season: UND has charged in the second half of the season, winning seven of its last 10 games, which included a home win over South Dakota to help get the edge on the 3-seed for the tournament. The Fighting Hawks were powered by an 11-1 home record and the through the play of Kacie Borowicz, who has averaged 20 points per game and is tops in the conference in assists per game (4.8). She also leads the conference in field goals attempted (490) and made (202).
One fact to know: Borowicz ranks fifth nationally in active career leaders in free throw percentage, converting 89.7 percent of her attempts.
No. 4 South Dakota
Records: 14-15, 10-8 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 219
Coach: Kayla Karius, first season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Coyotes are 22-6 in tournament games in Sioux Falls, with nine appearances in the last 10 Summit championship games, including three straight titles and four Summit League tournament titles all-time.
Story of their season: Considering USD lost all five starters from last year’s Sweet 16 squad, which consisted of 80% of its scoring and 74% of its minutes, the Coyotes figured there would be some growing pains under first-year coach Karius and the Coyotes dealt with a 4-7 start to the season and lost by a combined 90 points to rival South Dakota State. But USD still has the league’s second-best scoring defense and remains tough to beat when the defense is dialed in, while seeing freshmen Carley Duffney, Cassidy Carson and Walker Demers step into key roles alongside standout sophomore Grace Larkins.
One fact to know: Larkins currently ranks top three in the Summit in points, rebounds, assists and steals. According to USD, no Summit League player has ever finished in the top five of the conference in all four categories
No. 5 Oral Roberts
Records: 11-18, 8-10 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 223
Coach: Kelsi Musick, first season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Golden Eagles have always been solid in Sioux Falls but haven’t played in the championship game since 2010.
Story of their season: The Golden Eagles, who were picked to finish third in the Summit’s preseason poll, started 3-10 on the season thanks to a difficult non-conference schedule, which ranked 11th-toughest in the country. ORU scores plenty, firing at a 78.6 points per game clip — which is 14th best in the country and No. 1 in the conference. But Oral Roberts also gives up nearly 83 points per game and comes to Sioux Falls on a six-game losing streak. The Golden Eagles have allowed more than 90 points on 13 occasions this season, including six times in the Summit League.
One fact to know: Every player in the ORU starting lineup averages at least 11 points per game and senior guard Hannah Cooper averages 20.3 points per contest.
No. 6 Omaha
Records: 13-16, 8-10 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 263
Coach: Carrie Banks, third season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Mavericks’ shining moment was in 2021, when Omaha upset top-seeded South Dakota State in the opening round and reached the championship game as a 8-seed before falling to South Dakota.
Story of their season: Considering Omaha was picked to finish last in the Summit League standings, grabbing the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament is a step forward for the Mavericks after only posting 14 wins combined in coach Carrie Banks’ first two seasons. But an upset might be a tough task in Sioux Falls, with Omaha 1-9 during the season against the five teams seeded ahead of them in the conference.
One fact to know: Omaha is the conference’s best free-throw shooting team, converting 78.3% of its attempts, which ranks 10th nationally.
No. 7 Denver
Records: 12-17; 8-10 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 266
Coach: Doshia Woods, third season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Pioneers were a 6-seed and won a pair of games in 2014 to reach the championship game, where they lost to a USD team on a mission for their first NCAA bid. Since then, Denver has been snakebitten, losing eight straight in Sioux Falls, including three times as a high seed in the quarterfinal round in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Story of their season: Denver has taken a step forward from 2022, with three more conference victories after being picked eighth in the preseason. For the third season under Doshia Woods, the Pioneers fire away from 3-point territory. Denver attempts 27 3-pointers a game — the most in the Summit and ninth-most in the nation — and make more than eight per game. Denver has ranked in the top-40 nationally for 3-pointers attempted for the third year in a row. The Pioneers lost six games in a row in January but were 5-3 on the season after that point.
One fact to know: Freshman guard Emma Smith has emerged in recent weeks, scoring three 20-point games in the last four contests. She leads the team in scoring with 13.5 points.
No. 8 St. Thomas
Records: 12-16, 7-11 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 238
Coach: Ruth Sinn, 18th season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Tommies make their first trip to Sioux Falls this weekend.
Story of their season: Much like the Dakota schools moving from Division II, St. Thomas is trying to migrate a successful Division III program — which had three Final Four trips since 2012 — to the Summit League. With 11 of the team members either freshmen or sophomores, St. Thomas has already seen a five-win improvement this season over a 7-21 finish last winter, and UST has won four of the last five games.
One fact to know: Former South Dakota guard Madison McKeever, who won 110 games with the Coyotes, is on the Tommies’ coaching staff as the team’s director of operations.
No. 9 Western Illinois
Records: 10-19, 5-13 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 297
Coach: J.D. Gravina, 12th season
Summit tourney history in Sioux Falls: The Leathernecks are the only team since the tournament arrived in Sioux Falls in 2009 to spoil SDSU and USD’s championship dreams, earning the automatic bid in 2017 and WIU was the No. 1 Summit tournament seed in that season. They also reached the semifinals in 2018 and 2021.
Story of their season: A 1-6 start in conference play got WIU on the wrong track early in the year and they’ve lost seven of the last nine games on their way into Sioux Falls. The Leathernecks have only shot 36% for the season and rank at the bottom of the conference in rebound margin.
One fact to know: The Leathernecks live at the free-throw line, ranking in the top-20 nationally in attempts and made free throws per game, including No. 3 in the country with 17.1 made free throws per game.
No. 10 Kansas City
Records: 7-22, 3-15 Summit
NCAA NET ranking: 315
Coach: Dionnah Jackson-Durrett, first season
Summit tourney titles: Kansas City’s high point in the tournament came in 2012, when it reached the championship game and fell to SDSU. The Kangaroos won a first-round game in 2022 before bowing out to South Dakota in the semifinals.
Story of their season: Prior to the beginning of this season, no player on the current roster had ever started a game in a Kansas City uniform, making it clear that this was no longer a team that won 23 games last season under now-Oklahoma State coach Jacie Hoyt. That gives a sense of where Dionnah Jackson-Durrett had to work from to start the season, with only 10 players on the roster for the former assistant coach at Texas and player at Oklahoma. Defensive struggles have told most of the story for Kansas City, which ranks in the bottom 10% nationally in scoring defense and field goal defense.
One fact to know: Kansas City has lost eight consecutive games entering the Summit League tournament.