Coyotes' Liv Korngable 'taking advantage' of special NCAA run

Senior point guard is part of the engine of USD's winning program

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament - Second Round-South Dakota at Baylor
South Dakota Coyotes guard Liv Korngable (2) controls the ball against Baylor guard Jordan Lewis (3) during an NCAA tournament second-round game on March 20, 2022 in Waco, Texas.
Chris Jones / USA Today Sports

VERMILLION, S.D. — Liv Korngable admits that, coming out of high school, she might not have fully grasped what playing in the NCAA tournament would mean to an athlete.

In her third trip to the Big Dance and the first time going to the second weekend with her University of South Dakota teammates, the Rochester, Minnesota, native is embracing the chance to extend her fifth-year senior season into the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Sweet 16, with the No. 10-seeded Coyotes (29-5) taking on third-seeded Michigan (24-6) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Wichita, Kansas.

“I think being a high school kid, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what it means to go to an NCAA tournament,” said Korngable, recalling her time at Mayo High School. “Only those 64 teams get into that tournament and the level of competition there is fierce. … “Going from the beginning of the season, when we set our goals, we wanted to win the conference, win the Summit League tournament and win a game in the NCAA tournament and we’ve kind of doubled that now, which is pretty special."

That second NCAA win was the most prestigious in South Dakota’s Division I history, a 61-47 win over second-seeded Baylor on March 20 in Waco, Texas, in which USD did not trail. It held Baylor to a season-low for points and the Coyotes are allowing only 53.1 points per game for the season, which is eighth-best in the nation.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament - First Round-South Dakota at Mississippi
South Dakota Coyotes guard Liv Korngable (2) looks to shoot against Ole Miss Rebels guard Angel Baker (15) during an NCAA tournament first-round game on March 18, 2022 at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. Chris Jones / USA Today Sports
Chris Jones/USA TODAY Sports

Korngable, along with super seniors Chloe Lamb and Hannah Sjerven, are part of USD's Big Three , which returned for a final season using an extra year of eligibility afforded to them by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, they account for about two-thirds of the team's scoring.


“These young ladies have been incredible leaders in our program in the way that they work and the way they communicate with each other, in the way they lead us in terms of making sure that we're recovered and ready to go. … For them, it's more important than just trying to win basketball games,” USD coach Dawn Plitzuweit said of the team’s seniors after the team’s NCAA first-round win over Ole Miss. “They want to leave a legacy, and this is the way we do things.”

Korngable said her time as a reserve earlier in her career has made grateful for her starting role now. This is the fourth time that Korngable’s team has qualified for the NCAA tournament, but the Coyotes’ third tournament in that time due to the 2020 event being canceled, when USD had a 30-2 team that was eagerly anticipating the NCAAs.

“The phrase ‘taking advantage' has been very emphasized in this run,” Korngable said. “Very grateful to have come back and play another year, to see more court time and to play against great competition, so I think as a fifth-year senior, you want to play as long as you can.”

2022 Summit League Basketball Tournament
South Dakota's Liv Korngable pulls up for a shot in front of South Dakota State's Haleigh Timmer during the Summit League women's basketball tournament championship game on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
Richard Carlson / Inertia

This season, Korngable has started all 34 games, averaging 12.7 points per game and earning second-team all-Summit League honors. She hit 49.7% of her shots from the field and had a career-best 42.2% 3-point shooting, and surpassed 1,000 career points earlier in the season. Korngable has scored at least 10 points in 16 of her last 17 games.

“You want to win and you want to be on the court and that’s a balance,” Korngable said. “I’ve tried to spread that wisdom to our younger players that this might be your role now but it can always be improved and you can always be actively improving.”

Korngable has been asked recently about the Coyotes being underdogs and admitted that the team is not one that fully embraces that role, in part because it had past success against power conference opponents. This season, that included wins over Pittsburgh and Creighton, plus this weekend’s regional host Wichita State. The Coyotes have played the nation’s No. 1 team, South Carolina, in each of the past two seasons and kept the game within 13 points both times. Korngable matched a career-high 24 points in that game against the Gamecocks in November.

A kinesiology and sport management major with an emphasis in exercise science, Korngable will begin physical therapy school at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the fall. On a team with five Minnesotans, including Sjerven hailing from Rogers, Korngable said she has heard from many of her friends in Rochester during this tournament run.

“Back home, I have lots of coaches and former teammates that have reached out to me and congratulated me, so it’s very cool to still have that support from people that I grew up with and who I don’t really get to see that often now because of school and basketball but are still following and supporting me,” she said.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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