Aggies host South Dakota in WBI
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 02:03
March Madness is in full swing with people filling out their brackets and getting ready for the NCAA Tournament. Although neither the Utah State men’s or women’s team will be competing in the big dance, one of them is playing in the postseason.
After being upset in the semifinals of the WAC tournament by Idaho, the Utah State women’s basketball team thought its postseason dreams were over, but an invite to the Women’s Basketball Invitational has extended USU’s season.
The Aggies are the No. 3 seed in the West Region and they will host No. 6 seed South Dakota on Thursday night at the Spectrum.
“Not too many teams can play a postseason game at home, so that’s just another reason for us to come out and play well,” said head coach Jerry Finkbeiner.
It is the third consecutive year the women have participated in the postseason. USU lost in the first round of the WNIT to Utah 69-58 last season. In 2011, The Aggies advanced past the first round of WNIT with a win over Arizona but eventually lost in the second round to rival BYU.
This won’t be the first meeting between the two schools. The Yotes came to Logan to take on the Aggies on earlier in the season on Dec. 20. USU senior Devyn Christensen hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to cap off a 19-4 USU run to win the game 70-69. This was the first ever meeting between the schools.
USU can expect South Dakota to hit the offensive boards hard. In their first meeting, the Yotes grabbed a school record 32 offensive rebounds.
“In the past, teams I’ve had at this point have taken everything to get back in the gym, but this team, there is something different about them,” Finkbeiner said. “The fire is still burning, so we are going to take advantage of this WBI experience.”
USU is coming off a successful season, finishing 18-13. The Aggies finished in second place during the WAC regular season behind champion Seattle. After beating Denver in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament 78-65, the Aggies took on Idaho.
The Vandals overcame a heroic 37 point effort by Christensen to upset USU 84-82. It was the first time the Aggies lost to Idaho all season.
South Dakota is coming off a season where they finished third in the Summit League regular season. The Yotes advanced to the final of the conference tournament after beating North Dakota State and IUPUI in the process.
South Dakota lost to regular season champion South Dakota State in the championship 56-53.
The Yotes will be led by Summit League Newcomer Nicole Seekamp, who was third in the conference in scoring at 14 points per game. During the conference tournament, Seekamp averaged 20 points while shooting 56 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
The winner of this game will take on the winner between No. 2-seed Lamar and Presbyterian.
“It’s a bracket that looks a little heavy on our side,” Finkbeiner said. “I think we have to play well to move through it. There is going to be a lot of travel after this Thursday, but we have to take it one game at a time.”
The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Spectrum. Students get in for free and adults get in for $5.