SIOUX FALLS – The Coyote women have done it again. They are Summit League Champions.
“I think it’s an incredible accomplishment for us and for the four seniors last year that didn’t get to go dancing, go to the tournament,” USD senior Hannah Sjerven said. “This win is so much for our team, but it’s for everyone that came before us too, and has built the reputation of South Dakota.”
USD wins its second straight Summit League Championship defeating the eight seed Omaha 66-43. The Coyotes entered the tournament as the second seed after South Dakota State swept the conference regular season to claim the top seed. Omaha defeated SDSU in the opening round and Western Illinois in the semifinals to make it to the championship game.
“This group has set an incredible foundation for years to come,” Omaha head coach Carrie Banks said. “That’s what I’m really proud of. For them to compete to always fight, to never give up regardless of the circumstances, that’s been huge.”
The Mavericks were the first eight seed to make it to the Summit League Championship game. Omaha struggled to get the offense going in the first quarter, trailing 15-5 after one. Omaha was able to cut the USD lead to one at 21-20, but the Coyotes ended the half on an 8-1 run and they took over from there.
“Certainly it gives us confidence going into the half,” USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. “What we said is, with the pace of the game, the way its been for, an eight points lead at halftime is something that is a lot bigger than it actually looks like on paper.”
The Coyotes started the second half hot, growing the eight point lead to 17 points in the first four minutes of the second half. Chloe Lamb tweaked her ankle late in the third quarter, but said it was more scary than anything else. The Coyotes pulled their starters with 4:13 to play and the celebration started shortly after.
The Coyotes have won back-to-back titles, including last year’s win over South Dakota State, but USD didn’t get to play in the NCAA tournament last season due to COVID-19. This is the program’s third NCAA Tournament bid under Plitzuweit.
“To be able to see these young ladies have a chance to celebrate on the court and actually this time, cross your fingers, ideally go into the NCAA Tournament and go dancing will be something that’s really special,” Plitzuweit said.
Senior’s Lamb, Sjerven and Liv Korngable were named to the all-tournament team for their performances. Lamb was also named tournament MVP. In the championship game, Sjerven led the Coyotes with 20 points and nine rebounds. Lamb pitched in 17 points and six rebounds.
“They’re (the senior class) a group that really took a chance on our coaching staff when we arrived here,” Plitzuweit said. “These young ladies have not only been so successful on the basketball court, but they have built a culture in our community that is so much fun to see these little that come to games sand write them letters.”
Omaha’s Josie Filer and Claire Killian were named to the all-tournament team for Omaha. Filer and Killian struggled in the championship game, scoring three points each, but averaged double figure scoring through the first two games. Lauren Frost led Omaha with 10 points in the title game.
The Coyotes earned their third straight NCAA Tournament bid, after receiving an at-large bid in 2019 and winning the conference title in 2020, and fourth bid overall.
USD awaits Selection Monday, March 15 to see who they will be playing and where the team will be seeded for the NCAA Tournament in San Antonio, Texas.
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Sarah Schmitt 2-6 0-0 4, Claire Killian 1-3 1-2 3, Josie Filer 1-3 0-0 3, Sophie Johnston 1-7 0-0 3, Elena Pilakouta 4-11 1-2 9, Juliana Chaas 0-1 0-0 0, Lauren Frost 2-3 4-4 10, Abby Johnson 1-1 0-0 3, Kia Wilson 0-1 2-2 2, Akili Felici 0-1 0-0 0, Mariah Murdie 1-3 3-4 6. TOTALS: 13-40 11-14 43.
SOUTH DAKOTA 66
Liv Korngable 3-8 2-2 8, Chloe Lamb 6-10 2-2 17, Jeniah Ugofsky 2-6 0-0 4, Hannah Sjerven 8-13 3-4 20, Maddie Krull 3-10 1-2 8, Claudia Kunzer 2-3 0-0 4, Morgan Hansen 1-5 0-0 3, Macy Guebert 0-2 0-0 0, Aspen Williston 0-1 0-0 0, Allison Peplowski 1-1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 26-59 8-10 66.
UNO 5 16 9 13 -43
USD 15 14 20 17 -66
Three-Pointers: USD 6-16 (Lamb 3-6, Sjerven 1-1, Krull 1-1, Hansen 1-3, Williston 0-1, Korngable 0-2, Ugofsky 0-2), UNO 6-12 (Frost 2-2, Murdie 1-1, Johnson 1-1, Filer 1-2, Johnston 1-3, Schmitt 0-1, Killian 0-1, Felici 0-1). Rebounds: USD 33 (Sjerven 9), UNO 27 (Frost 5). Personal Fouls: USD 13, UNO 13. Assists: USD 19 (Ugofsky 7), UNO 5 (Schmitt 2, Chagas 2). Turnovers: UNO 17, USD 8. Steals: USD 8 (Sjerven 3), UNO 2 (Johnston, Frost). Blocked Shots: UNO 2 (Filer, Pilakouta), USD 1 (Sjerven).