By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- Before the 2006-07 season started, the South Dakota School of Mines women’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Dakota Athletic Conference.
The Hardrockers weren’t given much of a chance “on paper” with just three seniors and a handful of freshmen on the roster.
But “on paper” really doesn’t mean much to the Lady ‘Rockers as they continue to have stellar season --- finishing second in the DAC regular season rankings, earning a ranking or receiving votes to be ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Div. II standings all season, earning numerous DAC Player of the Week honors and most recently, receiving a 25th rating in the final NAIA Top 25 poll and of course there is the two playoff wins that has kept the Hardrockers season alive (defeated Mayville State in quarterfinals, 68-52 and defeated Minot State in semifinals, 68-55).
Tonight the young SDM squad (20-10) will take on Dakota State (20-10) in the DAC Championship game at Madison. The winner will earn an automatic berth into the NAIA National Tournament set for March 8-11 in Sioux City, Iowa.
“We are really excited,” said Lady Hardrocker head coach Barb Felderman about playing for the DAC championship. “It’s going to be a huge challenge but also a huge opportunity.
“I don’t know if there is a lot of pressure on us. Right now we are playing pretty good ball and having some fun.”
Good ball indeed.
The Hardrockers are on a four-game win streak posting double-digit victories in all those bouts. The team is ranked 15th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 75 points a contest, they have four players averaging over 10 points a game (Melanie Vedvei 19, Amber DeWeerd 12, Jennie Malone 12 and Bethany Holyoak 11) and are ranked 24th in the NAIA for total shooting percentage at 44 percent.
The Dakota State Lady T’s, who earned the 14th rating in the final NAIA Top 25, are also playing some quality basketball right now. They have 13 national team ranking and appear to have a solid lineup on both sides of the ball.
The Trojans are led in scoring by senior Sara Nelson. The 6-foot-2-inch post player averages 11 points a game and comes down with six rebounds each time out. Teammate Laura Tewes, a 6-1 junior forward puts up 10 points and grabs seven rebounds a game.
“They are a very good team. They play that dang matchup zone which can cause some problems unless you adapt to it.”
The teams split on the season with each earning a ‘W’ on their home floor. The game is slated for a 6 p.m. (MST) tip-off and a webcast link has been set up through the Hardrockers athletic website.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.