BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now Sports) - We've seen some pretty incredible basketball during the years the tournament has been in Sioux Falls, with at least one South Dakota team advancing to the Big Dance every year.
The team that has done it most often is the South Dakota State women, who made it to the Sweet 16 last year. But they lost a lot to graduation and were in trouble early in the season when Myah Selland was lost to injury. But that meant an opportunity for others to step up, and that's exactly what Senior Megan Bultsma has done.
After scoring nearly 1,300 hundred points at Mount Vernon Plankinton, Megan Bultsma was in a class by herself.
Upon arriving at South Dakota State in 2016, she quickly got an education in Division I college basketball.
"It definitely was a shock coming from a smaller school, definitely outsizing everyone I played pretty much. That was a very different experience," Megan says.
For the better part of the next three years, Megan saw limited playing time. Though it wasn't the career she had expected, the experience Megan was having wasn't worth trading in on a transfer.
"I think the atmosphere here, it's always been like a family kind of thing, so it's something that I've never wanted to leave. When I wasn't playing it was always then I was focusing on helping to make us better in general. Coming into practice to make those people who do play better," Megan says.
And staying ready if her number was called.
"Developing the skills I needed, changing some of my post moves, like tweaking little things here and there is mainly what helped me get over it. And then a lot of extra conditioning, lifting, getting in shape type of things," Megan says.
Which it would be in her final season following an injury to Myah Selland. And Bultsma was ready, scoring nearly 11 points per game during Summit League play.
"It's great to see people grow into their role and have great success. Megan's case is a little more unique and special because she worked so hard as a freshman, sophomore and junior to finally get to this point. A lot of players don't want to do that. A lot of players want instant gratification, instant feedback, and they're not willing to stay with something as long as Megan did," SDSU Head Coach Aaron Johnston says.
And ending her career on a high note.
"This has been an amazing experience for me, overall, but this year has been the topper on the cake," Megan says.