VERMILLION – The Coyotes were out to prove they are the best team in the Summit League this season, and they did so from wire-to-wire on Sunday afternoon in Vermillion.

South Dakota’s 83-48 Summit League women’s basketball victory over South Dakota State makes the Coyotes the final undefeated team in the Summit League.

The Coyotes (17-2 overall, 6-0 in conference) never trailed, leading for all but the opening 13 seconds.

Madison McKeever opened the game with a 3-pointer that got most of the 5,153 fans in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on their feet. In the blink of an eye, the Coyotes held a 26-6 advantage to end the quarter.

“At the end, when you look up at it (the score) and it kind of sinks in a little bit,” Ciara Duffy said. “It’s hard not to just smile and celebrate that with your teammates, with your community. We’ll celebrate this one for sure.”

A highly touted match-up that fans are use to seeing go down to the wire, was the opposite on Sunday. Both teams were undefeated in conference play, and the Coyotes are ranked 21 in the USA Today/Coaches poll (25 in the Associated Press poll).

South Dakota State’s worst loss in Summit League play prior to Sunday’s contest was a 67-51 loss to Oakland in 2009. Meanwhile, the Coyotes are winning their conference games by an average of 32.8 points per game this season.

USD has won six straight since their loss to South Carolina. The narrowest margin of victory is 21 points (Jan 1 against Purdue-Fort Wayne). The Jackrabbits entered the game hot as well, winning their last seven games.

“We certainly weren’t as good defensively at the beginning of the year as we have been lately,” Plitzuweit said. “It’s something that we’re going to continue to work on and hopefully continue to get better.”

The Coyotes held an 18-point halftime lead and kept their foot on the pedal through the third quarter. A 20-9 third quarter put the game away. The Coyotes subbed the bench in, and Claudia Kunzer and Macy Guebert drained three 3-pointers to extend the Coyote lead out to 35, where it would finish.

SDSU shot 17.6% (3-of-17) from beyond the arc and 36.7% (18-of-49) from the field. The Coyotes were over 50% from both three (10-of-20) and the field (31-58).

“I definitely think we didn’t come out as hard as we should have,” Burckhard said. “We’re just going to use it as fuel and motivation for when they come to Brookings.”

Duffy tallied a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Hannah Sjerven added 16 points.

The post players for SDSU led the way. Megan Bultsma finished with 12 points and Paiton Burckhard 11 for the Jackrabbits.

The Coyotes didn’t return from Fargo until the early morning hours on Friday and were granted the extra day of preparation due to the winter weather that moved through eastern South Dakota Friday and Saturday. Now the Coyotes have a few days off before played two games in three days on Jan 24 and 26.

Follow @BaileyZubke on Twitter.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (14-7, 6-1)

Tagyn Larson 1-3 0-0 2, Paiton Burckhard 4-10 3-4 11, Rylie Cascio Jensen 2-6 0-0 5, Lindsey Theuninck 0-2 0-0 0, Tylee Irwin 4-11 0-0 9, Megan Bultsma 4-7 4-6 12, Tori Nelson 1-5 2-2 4, Sydney Stapleton 2-5 0-0 5, Jordan Ferrand 0-0 0-0 0, Addison Hirschman 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18-49 9-12 48.

SOUTH DAKOTA (17-2, 6-0)

Hannah Sjerven 5-9 6-6 16, Monica Arens 3-5 0-0 7, Chloe Lamb 4-8 0-0 9, Madison McKeever 3-6 0-0 7, Ciara Duffy 7-13 4-4 21, Liv Korngable 2-5 0-0 5, Taylor Frederick 4-8 1-2 9, Jeniah Ugofsky 0-1 0-0 0, Claudia Kunzer 1-1 0-0 3, Megan Bonar 0-0 0-0 0, Macy Guebert 2-2 0-0 6, Regan Sankey 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 31-58 11-12 83.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 6 18 9 15 -48

SOUTH DAKOTA 26 16 20 21 -83

Three-PointersL USD 10-20 (Duffy 3-4, Guebert 2-2, Kunzer 1-1, Arens 1-2, McKeever 1-2, Lamb 1-3, Korngable 1-3, Sjerven 0-1, Frederick 0-1, Ugofsky 0-1), SDSU 3-17 (Stapleton 1-3, Cascio Jensen 1-4, Irwin 1-5, Larson 0-1, Theuninick 0-2, Nelson 0-2). Rebounds: USD 38 (Duffy 11), SDSU 21 (Cascio Jensen 4, Nelson 4). Assists: USD 18 (McKeever 4, Duffy 4), SDSU 10 (Cascio Jensen 4). Personal Fouls: SDSU 16, USD 14. Fouled Out: None. Blocked Shots: SDSU 3 (Bultsma 2), USD 1 (Sjerven 1). Steals: USD 9 (McKeever 2), SDSU 7 (Cascio Jensen 2, Theuninick 2). Turnovers: SDSU 15, USD 15. Attendance: 5,153.

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