#SummitWBB Weekly Notebook (Nov. 15)

2017 Summit League Basketball Championships - Women's Quarterfinal #4 (Photo by Inertia Sports Media)
2017 Summit League Basketball Championships - Women's Quarterfinal #4 (Photo by Inertia Sports Media)

Weekly Release (PDF)


UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Wednesday, Nov. 15
FORT WAYNE at Belmont 6 p.m.
North Dakota at SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 7 p.m. (MidcoSN2/ESPN3)
Thursday, Nov. 16
Wyoming at DENVER 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 17
Montana State at OMAHA Noon
Oklahoma Panhandle at ORAL ROBERTS 7 p.m.
UMass at NORTH DAKOTA STATE 7 p.m. (MidcoSN/ESPN3)

Saturday, Nov. 18
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE at Green Bay 1 p.m.
WESTERN ILLINOIS at Northern Illinois 1 p.m.
SOUTH DAKOTA at Wichita State 2 p.m.
Findlay at FORT WAYNE 6 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 19
Florida A&M at OMAHA 1 p.m.
Valley City State at NORTH DAKOTA STATE 2 p.m. (MidcoSN2/ESPN3)

Monday, Nov. 20
Arkansas at ORAL ROBERTS 7 p.m. (KGEB/ESPN3)

Tuesday, Nov. 21
UIC at FORT WAYNE 10 a.m.
WESTERN ILLINOIS at Illinois 7 p.m.

KEY
All times Central


RISE OF THE SUMMIT

> POSTSEASON
• 3 national postseason tournament qualifiers for 9 straight years
• League teams have a 18-13 (.581) combined record the last 4 seasons 
• 3 national postseason tournament semifinal appearances the last 4 years
• USD became the first league team, men or women, in any sport to capture a national postseason tournament title (WNIT, 2016)

> RANKINGS
• Nation's 4th-best home attendance improvement (+9) since 2009-10
• Recorded a .559 (38-30) non-league mid-major win percentage in 2016-17
• Nation's best D-I win percentage improvement (+16) since 2009-10
• 2 teams finished 2016-17 year ranked in the Mid-Major Poll top-15

> RPI GAINS
• Nation's best RPI ranking improvement (+19) since 2009-10
• 3 top-20 RPI finishes in the last 4 years
• Four teams ranked in the Top-80 at end of 2016-17 season, an all-time league high

> MEASURING UP AGAINST ITS PEERS
• Owns a .500 winning percentage vs. traditional mid-majors since '11
• .500+ winning percentage vs. mid-majors 3 out of the last 6 years

PRESEASON POLLING

Rank    School (1st-place votes)    Pts.

    1.     South Dakota State (16)       380
    2.     Western Illinois (12)             372
    3.     South Dakota                       307
    4.     Oral Roberts                        238
    5.     Omaha                                185
    6.     North Dakota State               150
    7.     Denver                                143
    8.     Fort Wayne                          60

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    Emily Clemens (G), Western Illinois

FIRST TEAM
   Allison Arens (G), South Dakota
   Morgan Blumer (G), Western Illinois 
   Emily Clemens (G), Western Illinois
   Madison Guebert (G), South Dakota State
   Macy Miller (G), South Dakota State
   Ellie Thompson (F), South Dakota State

SECOND TEAM
   Ciara Duffy (G), South Dakota
   Taylor Higginbotham (G), Western Illinois
   Faith Ihim (F), Oral Roberts
   Maria Martianez (F), Oral Roberts
   Taylor Thunstedt (G), North Dakota State

#MARCH2THESUMMIT

Everyone loves a success story and The Summit League Basketball Championships in Sioux Falls, called "March's best-kept secret" by USA Today in 2014, is one of the best in college basketball. Take a look at some of the numbers generated at what has become one of the nation's premier tournaments:
 
• Set second-highest total attendance in '17 at 21,092
• The second quarterfinal session attendance of 9,419 in '17 was the second-higest all-time
• Set league single-session records in every round in '16 (QF, SF, Championship)
• Nation's highest session attendance in '15 (8,171 -- QF1)
• Average combined M/W total attendance in Sioux Falls era is 42,384 (5,298 per session)
• 8 best league tournament attendance figures all came in Sioux Falls
• Eclipsed previous all-time attendance record by 13% at new arena in 2015
• Played league-record 9th consecutive tourney in Sioux Falls in '17
• Average combined M/W total attendance in Sioux Falls era is 43,251
• Exercised contract option to remain in Sioux Falls through 2022

SUMMIT POINTS (NEWS AND NOTES)

RPI SUCCESS
The Summit League finished the 2016-17 year ranked No. 11 in the Collegiate Basketball News' RPI (rpiratings.com), an all-time best in league history. The previous high was 16th in 1996-97 & 2015-16.
 
NATIONALLY-RANKED? NO PROBLEM
Since the 2007-08 season, Summit League teams have pulled off 10 victories over Top 25 teams, including six in the last four years. Below is the breakdown...
Team Date Rank Opponent
OU 12/2/07 21 Florida State
SDSU 12/9/08 25 Minnesota
OU 1/5/09 21 South Dakota State
SDSU 11/18/12 15 Nebraska
FW 12/1/13 18 Michigan State
SDSU 12/11/13 12 Penn State
SDSU 12/4/14 25 Arkansas
SDSU 12/15/15 15 DePaul
SDSU 3/19/16 19 Miami
ORU 12/4/16 12 Oklahoma
 
WELCOME ABOARD
On Jan. 26, The Summit League officially announced the addition of the University of North Dakota as its 10th member. The Fighting Hawks will begin league play across 17 league-sponsored sports beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.
 
POSTSEASON SUCCESS
Summit League teams have a combined .581 (18-13) winning percentage in national postseason tournaments the last four years. This includes South Dakota's WNIT Championship title in 2016, South Dakota State's WNIT semifinal appearance (2014) and SDSU's NCAA Tournament win (2016). The Summit League has sent at least three teams to postseason play the last eight years. In 2015-16, each team representing the league in a postseason tournament won its first round game for the first time ever.
 
RANKINGS, RANKINGS AND MORE RANKINGS
For the first time in Summit League history, three teams were ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Preseason Top 25 Poll. Currently, South Dakota State, ranked No. 1 for five weeks last season, sits in the No. 3 position. Reigning regular season and tournament champion Western Illinois is No. 21, while South Dakota is ranked No. 25.
 
Additionally, the Jackrabbits received votes in the USA Today/Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll for the third time in school history.
 
ALL-LEAGUERS ALL-AROUND
Four-of-five major award winners last season return in Western Illinois' Emily Clemens (Player of the Year), South Dakota's Ciara Duffy (Freshman of the Year), WIU's Morgan Blumer (Transfer of the Year) and USD's Madison McKeever (Sixth Woman of the Year).
 
In addition, a total of seven all-league selections from last season return.
First Team
Arens (USD), Blumer (WIU), Clemens (WIU), Madison Guebert (SDSU)
Second Team
Taylor Higginbotham (WIU), Faith Ihim (ORU), Ellie Thompson (SDSU)
 
CLIMBING THE CAREER CHARTS
Western Illinois guard Emily Clemens is currently  ranked in the Top-10 in Summit League history in two categories. She is seventh in assists (467) and ninth in free throws made (401).
 
Meanwhile, North Dakota State guard Taylor Thunstedt is tied for seventh in three-point field goals made (236), 12th in three-point field goals attempted (605) and 20th in three-point field goal percentage (.390) on the league's career charts.
 
NANCY LIEBERMAN WATCH LIST
Western Illinois' Emily Clemens was named one-of-20 players on the initial Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List. It is awarded to the top point guard in the nation.
 
MYERS DRYSDALE AWARD WATCH LIST
South Dakota junior guard Jaycee Bradley was selected as one-of-20 players named to the preseason watch list for the Ann Myers Drysdale Award, presented to the nation's top shooting guard.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

1         Team receiving votes in the USA Today/Coaches National Preseason Top 25 Poll

3         Teams ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Preseason Poll

11       The Summit League's Final 2016-17 RPI according to RPIRatings.com


WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The Summit League features the NCAA's most unique collection of one-of-a-kind nicknames among its member institutions. Within U.S. college athletics, three names are exclusively held by Summit League schools: Mastodons (Fort Wayne), Jackrabbits (South Dakota State) and Leathernecks (Western Illinois). In addition, the name Coyotes (South Dakota) is unique to NCAA Division I.


ABOUT SUMMIT LEAGUE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League features men's basketball teams from eight member institutions: Denver, Fort Wayne, North Dakota State, Omaha, Oral Roberts, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois with North Dakota becoming an official member for the 2018-19 season. In 2016-17, The Summit League raised its RPI for the third consecutive year, finishing with an all-time best No. 11 ranking. The Summit League has sent at least three teams to the postseason nine straight years with three postseason tournament semifinal appearances the last four years, while recording the nation's best Division I winning percentage improvement since 2009-10. Called "March's Best-Kept Secret" by USA Today, The Summit League Basketball Championships annually ranks as one of the most attended Division I conference tournaments. This season's event returns to the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., March 3-6, 2018. For more information about the league, "See The Summit" by visiting www.thesummitleague.org and following Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops.

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