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Kerri Young named Summit League's Sixth Woman award

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Kerri Young has made an impact on the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team right out of the gate.

By playing solid minutes for the Jackrabbits throughout the season, the Mitchell native has also turned heads from everyone in the Summit League. Young, a freshman, was named the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year Thursday prior to the start of the Summit League Championships, which begins Saturday at the Sioux Falls Arena.

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“I think it’s a big honor,” Young said Thursday afternoon, adding coach Aaron Johnston has improved her game. “A.J. has just prepared us to work hard every day because you never know what opportunity is going to open up for you.”

All conference awards are voted on by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors and select media members.

Young is the second consecutive Jackrabbit and fourth overall to earn the honor in the last seven years. Other SDSU players to earn the Sixth Woman of the Year award include Salem native Kristin Rotert (2007-08) and Mitchell native Jill (Young) Sargent (2008-09).

Young, a 6-foot guard/forward, is also the third Jackrabbit to be named to the Summit League All-Newcomer team, following Rotert (2008) and Sargent (2009).

Young is averaging 8.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line in 14 conference games. She said her game has improved tremendously since joining the Jackrabbits in the summer.

“I’ve become more comfortable shooting an outside shot and I’m 10 times more in shape than I was in high school,” Young said. “I’ve gotten used to the physicality and pace of the game.”

In addition to Young, SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston was named Summit League Coach of the Year after leading the Jackrabbits to their fifth regular-season title. SDSU’s Megan Waytashek earned first-team all-league honors, while Steph Paluch was named to the second team.

The University of South Dakota also had three players earn Summit League honors. Nicole Seekamp picked up first-team accolades and Polly Harrington was named to the second team. Junior Raeshel Contreras joins Young on the All-Newcomer list.

The Player of the Year is Amanda Hyde, of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The No. 4 Coyotes (16-13, 7-7 Summit) are scheduled to play No. 5 Western Illinois University in the first round of the Summit League Championships at noon Sunday.

The Jackrabbits (22-8, 13-1 Summit) are the top seed in the tournament and receive a bye in the first round. SDSU is scheduled to play in the semifinals at noon Monday against the winner of USD and WIU.

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Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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