Perennial nationally-ranked teams will once again compete in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout. The 2018 tournament, set for November 23 and 24 in fun-filled Las Vegas, includes a slate of eight squads: Arizona State, Baylor, Buffalo, Georgetown, Hartford, Louisville, South Dakota State and Southern Illinois. The 2018 South Point Shootout takes place at the four-star South Point Hotel and Casino, a spacious resort that offers fans a wide range of family-friendly entertainment from movies to bowling. Fan room rates will be available at a later date.
Despite not having any seniors last season, Arizona State tied the school records for consecutive NCAA appearances and 20-win seasons. The young Sun Devils exceeded expectations in a season of rebuilding, finishing with a 22-13 record. Under coach Charli Turner Thorne, the winningest coach in ASU history, the Sun Devils earned wins over three teams that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
After winning their ninth Big 12 Tournament title in March, the Baylor Lady Bears entered the NCAAs as a No. 2 seed and ranked No. 2 in the nation. Not surprisingly, the team had a good run before falling in the Sweet Sixteen, ending their season at 33-2. The Lady Bears return seven letter winners including Kalani Brown, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year and Lauren Cox, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, the team has the nation’s top recruiting class and adds Chloe Jackson, a graduate transfer from LSU. Jackson participated in last season’s South Point Shootout tallying 23 points in a win vs. Saint Louis.
Buffalo’s amazing 2017-18 season began with a bang as the Bulls knocked off two Power Five conference teams, Nebraska and Clemson, at the San Juan Shootout last November. The Bulls finished the historic season under coach Felisha Legette-Jack at 29-6 after falling to the 2017 NCAA National Champion South Carolina Gamecocks in the Sweet Sixteen. The Bulls stunned the nation as an 11th seed taking down higher ranked teams in the early rounds of the tournament. Buffalo returns leading scorer Cierra Dillard for the 2018-19 campaign.
Under first-year head coach James Howard, Georgetown made history in 2017-18 by advancing to the Big East Tournament semifinals for the first time in 19 seasons. The Hoyas also made it to the second round of the WNIT for the first time since 2009. The squad returns leading scorer Dionna White and adds Nikola Kovacikova, a member of the Slovak women’s national team.
Under third-year head coach Kim McNeill, Hartford finished 2017-18 with a 19-14 record, the most wins for the team since the 2012-13 season. The Hawks reached the title game of the America East Tournament after downing the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds. Hartford returns its leading scorer, rising senior Lindsey Abed, as well rising sophomore Jade Young who was named to the America East All-Rookie Team.
The Louisville Cardinals reached their third Final Four in 2017-18 finishing the season with a program-best 36-3 record. Head coach Jeff Walz was named the ACC Coach of the Year and will also lead the 2018 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in August. Louisville’s stellar year was capped by the selection of senior forward Myisha Hines-Allen by the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Draft.
South Dakota State earned an automatic berth to the 2018 NCAA tournament after toppling the regular-season Summit League champions South Dakota in the conference tournament. The Jackrabbits finished the season with an outstanding 26-7 record. South Dakota State returners included the 2018 Summit League Player of the Year, guard Macy Miller, who only needs 171 points to become the program’s career scoring leader.
Southern Illinois will enter 2018-19 on the heels of a fourth straight winning season. The Salukis finished last season with a 17-14 record and ended the season in the semifinals of the MVC Tournament after falling to top-seeded Drake. The young and promising team returns the bulk of its roster including leading scorer, forward Nicole Martin, and starting point guard Brittney Patrick.
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