Monica Arens

South Dakota’s Monica Arens, 11, drives in for a layup between two Omaha defenders during Saturday’s Summit League women’s basketball game at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

VERMILLION — For as someone as humble as Ciara Duffy, her telling you that her teammates deserve all the credit is nothing new to hear.

But when it comes to an assist, she’s on to something.

That’s a stat entirely dependent on a teammate.

And Duffy finished with a career-high 10 of those assists for No. 22-ranked South Dakota in Saturday’s 77-44 rout of Omaha in Summit League women’s basketball action at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

“It’s one of those things where you try to give credit to your teammates, and this is one of those things where it’s completely a credit to my teammates because they were the ones making shots and getting in the right places,” Duffy said.

In a game where defense led the way early for the Coyotes (15-2, 4-0), Duffy was piling up the assists.

She also scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in yet another all-around performance that bolsters her case for mid-major Player of the Year.

“She’s someone who continues to do an awful lot for us,” head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.

Which, for the Coyotes, was especially crucial — particularly in the first half.

South Dakota led only 12-10 after the first quarter and was 1-of-11 on three-pointers in the opening half. Thanks to an 11-0 run in the second quarter, the Coyotes led 36-23 at halftime.

But, in other words, it wasn’t the normally efficient Coyote offense.

“You can’t always control when the ball goes in; sometimes shots just don’t fall,” Duffy said, “and defense is something you can control every game.

“It kind of had to be the thing that carried us today.”

Eventually, though, the USD offense came around, but the defensive intensity remained — that was something Plitzuweit was especially happy about afterward.

“That sometimes can certainly happen when your offense gets going,” Plitzuweit said.

Still, the Coyotes felt like their offense didn’t click to the level it usually does, but that’s only a credit to Duffy that she was able to still finish with 10 assists, according to her coach.

“I think that speaks volumes of how many good reads she made, which is impressive,” Plitzuweit said.

Duffy became the first USD player to reach double figures in assist since Nicole Seekamp in 2016.

And Duffy jokingly said she had no idea how many assists she had until she got to the bench.

“To be honest, I didn’t really know until I went out and one of our coaches said something about it,” she said, with a smile.

As those assists piled up, Duffy and the Coyotes put the hammer down on Omaha in the third quarter.

The Coyotes started the frame on a 17-2 run and held the Mavericks to four points in the third quarter to balloon the margin.

Junior center Hannah Sjerven added 12 points and nine rebounds for USD, while senior Taylor Frederick had 11 points off the bench and junior starter Chloe Lamb scored 10 points.

Omaha (6-11, 1-3) got eight points off the bench from Kia Wilson, and seven points apiece from Mariah Murdie and Mikaela Ekdahl.

South Dakota heads north for a game next Thursday at North Dakota State.

Follow @jhoeck on Twitter

OMAHA (6-11, 1-3)

Josie Filer 1-3 0-0 3; Mariah Murdie 3-6 1-2 7; Ella Ogier 2-4 2-2 6; Claire Killian 2-6 0-0 5; Mikaela Ekdahl 2-6 2-2 7; Elena Pilakouta 2-5 0-0 4; Rayanna Carter 1-6 0-0 2; Sophie Johnston 0-2 2-2 2; Akili Felici 0-1 0-0 0; Kia Wilson 3-6 2-2 8; Abby Johnson 0-1 0-0 0; Sarah Schmitt 0-0 0-0 0; Emily Petersen 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 16-47 9-10 44.

SOUTH DAKOTA (15-2, 4-0)

Hannah Sjerven 4-6 4-4 12; Monica Arens 2-6 1-3 5; Chloe Lamb 4-10 0-0 10; Madison McKeever 2-7 0-0 4; Ciara Duffy 5-10 5-6 16; Liv Korngable 2-5 1-2 5; Taylor Frederick 5-7 1-1 11; Jeniah Ugofsky 0-2 0-0 0;

Claudia Kunzer 0-0 0-0 0; Megan Bonar 0-2 0-0 0; Macy Guebert 1-3 1-1 3; Alexi Hempe 2-3 0-0 6; Regan Sankey 2-2 0-1 5. TOTALS 29-63 13-18 77.

OMAHA 10 13 4 17 — 44

SOUTH DAKOTA 12 24 21 20 — 77

Three-Pointers — USD 6-22 (Hempe 2-2, Lamb 2-5, Sankey 1-1, Duffy 1-2, Bonar 0-1, Korngable 0-2, Arens 0-3, McKeever 0-4), OMA 3-15 (Filer 1-3, Killian 1-3, Ekdahl 1-4, Ogier 0-1, Johnston 0-1, Felici 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Petersen 0-1). Total Rebounds — USD 37 (Sjerven 9), OMA 29 (Filer 5, Johnston 5). Assists — USD 18 (Duffy 10), OMA 8 (Pilakouta 2). Turnovers — OMA 21, USD 10. Personal Fouls — OMA 19, USD 13. Fouled Out — None. Attendance — 2,576.

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