Johnston named to Naismith Watch List

Dave Eggen/Inertia Sports Media

ATLANTA, Ga. – South Dakota State women’s basketball head coach Aaron Johnston is one of 15 head coaches to be named to the 2021 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday.

In 21 seasons at the helm, Johnston has led the Jackrabbits to 17 20-plus win seasons, including nine straight. He ranks tied for 31st among all active Division I head coaches with 509 career wins. In 2009, Johnston was named one of four Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year finalists.

South Dakota State is ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll and No. 25 in the USA TODAY/Coaches Poll. As a team, the Jackrabbits winning percentage (89.5) ranks 13th nationally, while also ranking 15th in free throws made (286). State is 17-2 overall and lead the Summit League with a perfect 10-0 mark.

Johnston has guided the Jackrabbits to three wins over top-20 teams this season, including Iowa State (then-No. 15), Gonzaga (then-No. 18) and Missouri State (then-No. 20).

Myah Selland, a Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Semifinalist, is averaging a Summit League-best 19.7 points per game. She has scored at least 15 points in every game for the Jackrabbits, including a career-best 30 points most recently. The redshirt junior currently ranks 32nd on SDSU’s all-time scoring list with 1,150 career points. She has been named the Summit League Player of the Week six times this season, which is the most honors by a Jackrabbit in a single season all-time.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club will announce the 10 semifinalists for the award on March 3, and the finalists will be revealed on March 18. The winner of the 2021 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year will be announced on April 3.

SDSU concludes a four-game road stretch at North Dakota State Feb. 19-20. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. each day in Fargo, N.D.

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