University of South Dakota vs IUPUI Women's Summit League Tournament

SIOUX FALLS, SD - MARCH 9: Nicole Seekamp #35 of USD dribbles past defender Kelsi Byrd #3 of IUPUI in the first half of their semi-final round Summit League Championship Tournament game Monday afternoon at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

SIOUX FALLS — New venue. Same Nicole Seekamp.

The University of South Dakota senior had another big game at the Summit League Tournament, which moved next door from the Sioux Falls Arena to the shiny new Premier Center.

It didn’t matter. She once again rose to the task.

“I like the atmosphere here,” Seekamp said after scoring 23 points in Monday afternoon’s 69-58 semifinal win over IUPUI.

“It’s scary to think if you lose you’re done,” she added. “It’s my senior year, I don’t want to be done with this team.”

And she’s not.

The top-seeded Coyotes (25-6) advance to Monday’s 1 p.m. championship game — their third in a row — against either South Dakota State or Oral Roberts.

In now eight tournament games, Seekamp, a 5-foot-10 native Australian, has shot 50 percent and averaged 21 points a game — her team is also 7-1.

She followed up a 25-point, 8-assist effort in the first round with a 9-of-15 shooting display Monday, including 4-of-5 on three-pointers.

Whenever the Coyotes needed a boost, Seekamp delivered. As has been par for the course over the years in Sioux Falls.

“She’s a warrior, she has that championship mentality,” head coach Amy Williams said. “I’ve watched it for three years now, she rises to the challenge.

“She finds a way to raise her level of play to what the level of the game is.”

There was no bigger example of that than when USD’s lead was cut from 13 down to three with 10:31 remaining.

After Kelly Stewart made a three-pointer, Seekamp swished one on the next trip, helping the Coyotes embark on a 22-7 run that put the game away.

“I just like to do what I can for my team,” Seekamp said. “If they need me, I try to knock down the shots.”

Senior Raeshel Contreras and junior Tia Hemiller both added 11 points for the Coyotes, while junior Margaret McCloud had eight points and eight rebounds.

IUPUI (15-16) got 11 points each from Nevena Markovic, Shaquira Scott and Jenna Gunn.

Asked what makes Seekamp in particular such a challenge to defend, IUPUI coach Austin Parkinson referenced two key areas: Her defense and her ability to not get “rattled.”

“She’s a pro. I think she’ll play in the WNBA some day,” Parkinson said.

For now, Seekamp and the Coyotes will play for a second consecutive Summit League title and NCAA Tournament berth.

“It’s a special thing for our program,” WIlliams said. “I’m thrilled to death for this team.”

What do the players think of a third straight title showdown?

“It’s just another game, but I guess it is a big game,” Hemiller said, smiling. “It’s a great opportunity and a great experience.”

IUPUI (15-16)

Akilah Sims 1-8 2-2 4; Nevena Markovic 3-10 4-4 11; Kelsi Byrd 1-3 1-2 4; Danielle Lawrence 2-4 2-3 6; Shaquira Scott 3-9 5-5 11; Nicole Rogers 1-1 0-0 3; Caitlyn Tolen 1-2 1-2 4; Martha Burse 0-0 0-0 0; Shawnece Teague 0-1 0-0 0; Jenna Gunn 5-8 1-1 11; Mikale Rogers 1-5 2-2 4. TOTALS 18-51 18-21 58.

SOUTH DAKOTA (25-6)

Lisa Loeffler 2-5 0-0 6; Margaret McCloud 4-6 0-0 8; Tia Hemiller 5-9 0-0 11; Raeshel Contreras 3-10 3-4 11; Nicole Seekamp 9-15 1-1 23; Kelly Stewart 2-8 0-0 6; Taylor Moore 0-0 0-0 0; Bridget Arens 1-3 0-0 2; Jaylah Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Kate Liveringhouse 0-4 0-0 0; Heidi Hoff 1-1 0-2 2. TOTALS 27-61 4-7 69.

Halftime: USD 25-19. Three-Pointers: USD 11-22 (Seekamp 4-5, Loeffler 2-3, Stewart 2-5, Contreras 2-7, Hemiller 1-2), IUPUI 4-12 (N. Rogers 1-1, Tolen 1-2, Markovic 1-3, Byrd 1-3, Sims 0-1, Scott 0-2). Total Rebounds: USD 41 (McCloud 8), IUPUI 29 (Markovic 7). Assists: USD 18 (Contreras 7), IUPUI 7 (Tolen 2). Turnovers: USD 17, IUPUI 15. Personal Fouls: USD 21, IUPUI 13. Fouled Out: None.

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