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Hannah Sjerven becomes first former Coyote to get WNBA playing time

Sjerven is fourth Summit League alumna to play in WNBA in conference's 30 years

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South Dakota's Hannah Sjerven speaks to the media during practice day at the NCAA women's basketball tournament Wichita Regional at Intrust Bank Arena on Friday, March 25, 2022 in Wichita, Kansas.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic
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MINNEAPOLIS — University of South Dakota alumna Hannah Sjerven signed a hardship contract with the Minnesota Lynx on Friday, becoming the first former Coyote to earn WNBA regular-season playing time.

A hardship exception is granted as a temporary roster spot granted by the league when a player is out because of injury, illness or other conditions.

Drafted 28th overall by Minnesota in April, Sjerven, 23, saw action in both preseason games where she collected 12 points, 10 rebounds and an assist. Sjerven checked into Saturday’s game versus the Chicago Sky, playing four minutes against the defending WNBA champions. The Lynx are on the road this week for games at Los Angeles (Tuesday), Las Vegas (Thursday) and Dallas (Saturday).

The native of Rogers, Minnesota, made history when checking in on Saturday as she became the first Coyote to play in a WNBA game. She’s the fourth in the Summit League’s 30 years to play in the WNBA. The previous three women – E.C. Hill of Northern Illinois, Marlous Nieuwveen of Valparaiso, Zane Teilane of Western Illinois – were members of the Mid-Continent Conference, as the league was formerly known.

Sjerven was a three-time Summit League defensive player of the year, three-time all-Summit League first team, four-time Summit all-tournament team and a finalist for the 2021 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year. South Dakota’s all-time blocks leader, Sjerven also finished her Coyote career ranked in the top-10 at USD in scoring, rebounding and steals.

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Sjerven shot 62.5 percent through three NCAA Tournament games, averaging 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds while leading USD to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.

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