A look at South Dakota State women's basketball's history in the NCAA tournament
The Jackrabbits are 4-10 all-time as they head into their 11th tournament
BROOKINGS — The South Dakota State women's basketball team is playing in its 11th NCAA tournament. They've only been Division I postseason eligible for 15 years.
As a mid-major program, the Jackrabbits always face an uphill battle when it comes to advancing in the tournament, but they've proven they can win in the Big Dance. SDSU won its first NCAA tournament game in 2008-09, and has won three more since, including the two they won in Syracuse in 2019 to reach the Sweet 16.
With USD equaling that accomplishment in 2022, and coming up just short of the Elite Eight, the bar has been raised for women's basketball in South Dakota. Just getting to the tournament isn't as big a deal as it used to be. Winning games is now an expectation.
Can SDSU make a run this year? It won't be easy. While they're a 9-seed and the 8/9 matchup is usually a toss-up, 8th-seeded Southern Cal is a team that can cause serious problems, with size all over the floor, a handful of experienced seniors and a suffocating defense. And if the Jacks do win that game, they're looking at challenging top-seed and fourth-ranked Virginia Tech, on the Hokies' home floor.
But as history has shown, they can play with the best in the country in March. Here's a complete look at SDSU's NCAA tournament history.
First round: SDSU 90, TCU 55
The Jacks announced their presence with authority, boatracing TCU 52-22 by halftime on their way to a huge blowout. Jill Young led the way with 17 points.
Second round: Baylor 60, SDSU 58
Going against 5th-ranked and second-seeded Baylor, the Jacks jumped out to a 15-2 lead and stayed in front most of the way, but they couldn't hold it. With the score tied, the Bears' Kelli Griffin banked in a runner with five seconds left to give Baylor the win and end SDSU's season at 32-3.
First round: Oklahoma 68, SDSU 57
With a mere 24-10 record after winning the Summit League tournament for the second straight season, SDSU was just a 14-seed, and while they hung around against the 3rd-seeded Sooners, they never much threatened to actually win. Kristin Rotert led the Jacks with 13 points.
First round: Xavier 72, SDSU 56
After a middling regular season, the Jacks rallied to win the Summit League tournament with just 19 wins, which saddled them with a 15-seed. That left them little change to make noise in the NCAA's, and SDSU went quietly against the 2nd-seeded Musketeers and 6-foot-6 center Ta'Shia Phillips.
First round: Purdue 83, SDSU 68
The 12th-ranked Boilermakers led wire-to-wire, continuing a trend for SDSU. For the third-straight year, they avoided getting blown out but never had a great chance to win. They trailed by five at halftime and cut it to two in the opening minute of the second half, but Purdue answered with a 14-4 run and that was that. Jill Young led SDSU with 19 points.
First round: South Carolina 74, SDSU 52
The Jacks got a look at the Gamecock women's basketball dynasty just when it was beginning, and South Carolina had little difficulty getting past SDSU. The teams were even for the first half of the first half, but the Gamecocks led by 18 at half and went up by as much as 27.
First round: Oregon State 74, SDSU 62
After finally missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since they'd become eligible, the Jacks returned in 2015 and were sent to Corvallis to face Oregon State. SDSU hung in there behind freshman guard Macy Miller and led at halftime, but the 3rd-seeded Beavers were ultimately too much, opening the second half with a 25-10 run to take control.
First round: SDSU 74, Miami 71
Second round: Stanford 66, SDSU 65
After five straight first round exits, the Jacks finally got back in the win column, knocking off the Hurricanes behind 19 points from Madison Guebert.
Then came a shot at fourth-seeded host Stanford, and the Jacks led almost the whole way. They couldn't hold it. A three-point play by Lili Thompson with 8.2 seconds left gave Stanford its first lead of the fourth quarter and ultimately provided the final margin.
First round: Villanova 81, SDSU 74 (OT)
Madison Guebert drilled a dramatic 3-pointer to force overtime, but it was the Wildcats who caught fire from outside, hitting three straight 3s in the extra period to pull away. Macy Miller had 25 points and Guebert 21.
First round: SDSU 76, Quinnipiac 65
Second round: SDSU 75, Syracuse 64
Sweet 16: Oregon 63, SDSU 53
Maybe not the best team in program history, but the one that finally advanced to the round of 16. The Jacks earned their highest seed ever with a strong regular season, and had little trouble dispatching Quinnipiac in the first round. But it was their upset of 3rd-seeded and 12th-ranked Syracuse in the Orange's home facility (the Carrier Dome) that made history. Guebert hit six 3s to finish with 20 points, Macy Miller had a double-double, and a pair of youngsters named Myah Selland (17 points, eight rebounds) and Paiton Burckhard (10 points) each played major roles in the win.
The Jacks moved on to Portland to take on 2-seeded Oregon in the Sweet 16, and the Ducks were just too much thanks to future WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu, who would take Oregon to the Final Four.
First round: Syracuse 72, SDSU 55
After COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 postseason, the NCAA, like most sports leagues, cobbled together an abbreviated, socially-distanced season in 2021 in Texas. The Jacks went 14-0 in league play but Myah Selland suffered a serious knee injury near the end of the regular season, which opened the door for the Jacks to get upset in the first round of the Summit League tournament. They'd done enough to get an at-large bid, their first ever, but didn't have the firepower to beat the Orange shorthanded.