South Dakota Coyotes reach fourth straight Summit women's title game with blowout win over NDSU
Coyotes will face eighth-seeded Omaha on Tuesday
SIOUX FALLS -- For the fourth year in a row, the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team will play for an NCAA tournament automatic bid at the Summit League tournament.
The Coyotes outpaced third-seeded North Dakota State 81-55 in the conference tournament semifinals Tuesday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Liv Korngable paced the Coyote offense, scoring 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting and hitting three 3-pointers. Teammate Chloe Lamb also hit three triples and scored 18 points, while corralling six rebounds. Maddie Krull had 13 points and five rebounds, as the Coyotes shot 52 percent from the field and made 20 of 25 free throws in what was a physical game.
Half of the total points in the game were scored in the paint and USD won the defensive battle, holding NDSU to 34 percent shooting from the field. The Coyotes led 42-26 at halftime. Reneya Hopkins had 13 points to lead North Dakota State (15-9), while Kadie Deaton scored 10.
USD (18-5), which won the conference tournament last year but didn’t go to the NCAAs due to the outbreak of COVID-19, will take on the tournament’s Cinderella in No. 8-seeded Omaha. The game will be played at 1 p.m. Tuesday and air on ESPNU. USD has played in the Summit final in eight of the last nine seasons.
"Our effort and energy was really good from the start of this game, which helped string together stops, especially in the first half," said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. "Now we have an incredible challenge ahead of us tomorrow, having to face a team that is not only playing really well, but also the one conference team we didn't face during the regular season."
The two teams did not play during the regular season due to COVID-19 cases at Omaha. The Mavericks (7-12) added to their surprising victory over top-seeded South Dakota State in the quarterfinals with a defensively dominant 69-55 win over Western Illinois.
Not only is Omaha the only women’s 8-seed to make the Summit League final but it’s just the fifth to be seeded in the bottom half of the bracket to make the title game in 29 years of the women’s event. Just one -- Oakland in 2006 -- has won it all.