The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center was a busy place yesterday.
First, came the biggest news: UND’s inclusion into the Big Sky Conference.
- Brad Schlossman, GF Herald: Big Sky quickly ends UND’s wait
- Wayne Nelson, GF Herald: UND soars into Big Sky
- Tom Miller, GF Herald: Scheduling, recruiting best bonuses of Big Sky
There’s not muchÂ to say to defend UND’s move to the Big Sky. It was a no-brainer. You have to take care of your football program and the Summit League didn’t allow that opportunity. This era of college athletics is no time for patience toÂ allow a Missouri Valley/Summit football partnership toÂ develop. It’s as simple as that.
South Dakota football coach Ed Meierkort said it best in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader today: “Independent football is the same as the death penalty.”
USD didn’t announce its move to the Big Sky on Monday, although it appears the move is in its final stages. The Big Sky has signed off on it and apparently the Coyotes athletic department has signed off on it. It’s awaiting the approval of the board of regents, which, as I take it, isÂ the South Dakota equivalentÂ to the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.
As far as what this might mean to the Dakota rivalries between UND-NDSU and USD-SDSU, that shouldn’t be a major issue as I see it. They’re already scheduled to play in most sports this season, except football. Without looking up all of the matchups, baseball, soccer andÂ volleyballÂ all come to mind as programs that have played recently and men’s basketball is on the way. The only hangup is football. But UND reiterated yesterday that Bison-Sioux football can happen in different leagues. There are examples all over the country of rivals playing in separate leagues. My opinion? Sioux-Bison football will happen. It’s just a matter of time. Past dramas will eventually be put to rest under new administrations.
Now on to the second action at the Betty yesterday. The Sioux women’s basketball team opened the season with an exhibition against Jamestown College. With the Big Sky craziness lately, I never had a chance to blog about media day, so I’ll throw out some first impressions now.
UND started against the Jimmies with Charnay Mothershed, Nicole Smart, Mallory Youngblut, Corey Lof and Katie Houdek.
Coaches and players raved at media day about the improvements of Houdek, a Grafton, N.D., native. She had eight points and three rebounds against Jamestown College. After the game, Roebuck said she’s been practicing like the team’s second-best player and she just needs to translate that into the game now.
I think Houdek will be challenged, though, to keep her starting spot because 6-foot-4 freshman Allyssa Wall was impressive. She had 13 points and 10 boards against JC. She was strong and confident.Â Looks to me like she’llÂ see a lot of minutes this year.
Another impressive freshman was Megan Lauck, who had six points and six rebounds last night. At 6-1, Lauck will create matchup problems at the wing.
Roebuck indicated at media day that freshmen Madi Buck, Siri Burck, Emily Evers and Kylie Vatthauer will all redshirt.
Roebuck’s team has nine newcomers, so it’ll take some time, but the Sioux looked like a team that will compete again for a Great West Conference title.