South Dakota State University 90Texas Christian University 55
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who missed a good portion of the South Dakota State Women’s incredible debut in the NCAA tournament Sunday night. We were under the impression their game against TCU in Buddy Holly’s hometown of Lubbock Texas was going to be televised by ESPN2 in high definition. It wasn’t until well into the first half that we realized the network had no plans to switch from the Green Bay/LSU contest so by the time I finally found it on channel 48..the Jacks were already up by 30 points. I have to admit that, other than watching Jay Elsen’s game highlights on Keloland sports, I have not seen the Jacks play this season. Now, here I finally had a chance to see them in action but figured with such a big lead, the coach would pull out all the star players and I’d wind up watching the reserves finish out the contest. Well, I quickly learned what most of you already know; this is a “team” in the truest sense of the word.The Jacks’ greatness is in the fact that there are no stars..no egos to coddle. They play as a single smooth-running machine made up of several beautifully-crafted parts; switched-on at the beginning of the game and not turned off again until the final buzzer sounds. And these are OUR girls; all Midwesterners from places like Mitchell, Yankton, Sioux Falls, Worthington, Salem and Willow Lake. With ponytails bouncing, they run, run, run up and down the floor..wearing out their confused defenders with sharp quick passes back and forth until somebody’s open underneath or there’s a clear shot from outside the three point circle..then swish! It’s such a joy to behold. As soon as one needs a breather, there’s another equally talented player on the bench ready to go in. Even though I missed the early part of the game, I didn’t really miss anything because their intensity level never changes. I suppose the TCU coach could have accused the Jacks of running up the score but when these girls are willing to risk injury by diving head first for a loose ball even with a 40 point lead, they’re not showing off..they simply don’t know any other way to play than full bore and flat out. Their impressive performance Sunday night now has all the sports analysts buzzing about these Jackrabbits from little Brookings, South Dakota who had six players in double figures, tied the record for three pointers, had 28 assists on 34 baskets and were plus 5 in turnovers. “How far can they ‘hop’ up the bracket?” I heard one say. “We’ll, they should be lucky with all those rabbit’s feet,” said another. Cute..but a team as terrific as this one makes its own luck. I wonder if we’ll get to see them in hi-def when they play in the championship game.
What A Team!
By: Doug Lund