Denver Women’s Hoops Stuns South Dakota State, 72-62

DU women’s basketball (11-14, 5-7 Summit League) shocked the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits on the road Thursday night in Brookings, S.D., 72-62. The Pioneers had not defeated the Jackrabbits in five years of conference play. The road win was directed by Associate Head Coach Kayla Ard.

The Pioneers were led by Madison Nelson’s 27 points along with Uju Ezeudu’s 7 points, 4 steals and 10 rebounds.

Head coach Jim Turgeon was placed on administrative leave mid-January by DU Athletics. Since that time, his top assistant, Kayla Ard, has guided the Pioneers to a 3-3 record. The team was 8-12 and 2-5 in the Summit League before Turgeon was placed on administrative leave. DU did not issue a formal announcement when the move was made but would confirm the change when asked. No cause has been provided for the administrative leave and no time given if and when he would return.

Turgeon took the reins of a struggling program two and a half years ago and quickly improved on the five disastrous seasons engineered by his predecessor, Kerry Cremeans. In his first season, the Crimson & Gold went 16-14 with a 7-7 Summit League conference record. In his second year,  Denver took another step forward as it posted an 18-14 record, the most wins the program has earned as a member of the Summit League. DU also earned a berth in the WNIT, while garnering the first-ever postseason win in program history with an 83-75 victory over New Mexico in the opening round.

Denver women’s basketball was selected to finish third this season by conference coaches in the Summit League preseason poll. DU is currently mired in 7th place. South Dakota (10-2) now sits in second place behind nationally-ranked South Dakota (12-0).

Photo: Courtesy of Jackrabbit Athletics

4 thoughts on “Denver Women’s Hoops Stuns South Dakota State, 72-62”

  1. Very big win for the DU program. They take women’s hoops more seriously in South Dakota, and SDSU draws more fans for women’s games than DU does for its mens team (about 1.5 to 2k on average).

    Obviously, the DU women really enjoy playing for Coach Ard, and the DU women have NEVER won a game in Brookings, S.D. before. SDSU was 10-2 in conference play this season. Coach Ard has impressed me so far. She has coaching experience at big programs like Clemson as well as privates like Dayton, and her players believe in her — just look at theTwitter video of the postgame celebration in the article. If Turgeon does not return as DU head coach from his administrative leave, I think the DU administration need look no further than elevating Ard to the head coach position.

    As for Turgeon, he has quite a bit of time left on his coaching contract, so my guess is the long-term situation may be a difficult one for the DU administration to sort out. I don’t know what he did to earn his administrative leave or if he is coming back, but a potential multi-year buyout of Turgeon could affect DU ‘s sports budget for other things. We’ll have to wait and see.

      1. Can’t get an answer. Guessing it is not ‘sinister’ or he would have been fired. Administrative leave would indicate something against policy or possibly inappropriate – but nothing criminal.

  2. CONGRATULATIONS to Women’s Basketball–a signature win.

    The status of the head coach is of concern for the future, but Coach Ard is proving to be a leader for the team.

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