USD senior Ciara Duffy named Summit League Player of the Year

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – South Dakota’s Ciara Duffy was chosen as The Summit League Player of the Year for the first time in her career in a vote by the league’s head coaches, athletic communications directors, and select media members.

Duffy becomes the second Coyote to take home the league’s top individual accolade, joining Nicole Seekamp who earned the honor in 2016. The Coyote senior averaged 17.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, and 5.2 assists per game this season. Duffy has reached double figures in 28 of 29 games and recorded five double-doubles. She scored a career-high 31 points at Denver and has totaled five weekly league honors this season, which is tied for third-most in a single-season in league history. Duffy is the only player in South Dakota’s history with more than 1,700 points, 600 rebounds and 400 assists in her career.

Hannah Sjerven was named the Defensive Player of the Year becoming the third straight Coyote to take home the award. Sjerven, the 2019 Sixth Woman of the Year, helped USD hold opponents to an average of 56.7 points throughout the season. She finished third in the league in blocks per game (1.8) and totaled 54 on the season. Sjerven sits seventh in the league in rebounds per game (7.1) and has 132 defensive rebounds entering the league tournament.

Taylor Frederick, a senior center for South Dakota, was voted as the Sixth Woman of the Year and is the second consecutive Coyote to take home the honor. Frederick was a force inside for South Dakota, leading all reserves with 10.0 points per game. She reached double-digit scoring efforts in 10 of 16 league games, including a season-high 20 points against Omaha. Frederick sits second in the league in field goal percentage (55.0) behind teammate Sjerven.

Western Illinois’ Evan Zars was named the Newcomer of the Year becoming the second Leatherneck to garner the award in the past four seasons. Zars started every game since becoming a Leatherneck and owns averages of 9.1 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures in 11 games, nine of which came in league play, including a career-high 25 points at Omaha. Zars leads the Leathernecks in shooting from the field with a 52.5 percent clip.

South Dakota State’s Tori Nelson was named the Freshman of the Year becoming the first Jackrabbit to take home the honor since Madison Guebert won the honor in 2016. The award was split into freshman of the year and transfer of the year (now newcomer of the year) for the 2015-16 season. Nelson has started 16 games for the Jacks, eight of which were in the second half of league play. She averaged 9.7 points per game to go along with 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field.

South Dakota’s Dawn Plitzuweit was voted the Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season. Plitzuweit guided the Coyotes to a 16-0 league record and USD is the only program to run the table twice in Summit League play. Plitzuweit’s 2018 Coyotes went 14-0 as well. Under her leadership, South Dakota earned the program’s second national top 25 ranking. The Coyotes entered the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time on Dec. 17 at No. 25 and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll at No. 24 on Dec. 3. The Coyotes moved up to No. 12 in the AP Top 25 on Feb. 25, which is the highest-ranking ever in either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches’ Poll by a Summit League women’s basketball team.

The All-League first team is made up of Duffy, Sjerven, Denver senior Madison Nelson (19.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg), South Dakota State sophomore Paiton Burckhard (14.5 ppg, 53.5 FG%), Western Illinois senior Olivia Kaufmann (16.7 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Oral Roberts junior Keni Jo Lippe (18.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg).

The five-player second team consists of North Dakota junior Julia Fleecs (12.5 ppg, 77.8 FT%), South Dakota junior Chloe Lamb (11.3 ppg, 46.8 3FG%), South Dakota State senior Tagyn Larson (11.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Denver senior Lauren Loven (15.2 ppg, 44.2 3FG%) and Omaha sophomore Mariah Murdie (11.1 ppg, 52.8 FG%).

Honorable mention accolades went to Frederick, South Dakota senior Madison McKeever (8.9 ppg, 1.8 spg), Oral Roberts seniors Montserrat Brotons (10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Rylie Torrey (11.7 ppg, 43.8 3FG) and North Dakota State junior Michelle Gaislerova (13.1 ppg, 98.2 FT)).

The Summit League All-Newcomer team features Zars, Tori Nelson, North Dakota State freshman Ryan Cobbins (9.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Oral Roberts senior Jentry Holt (8.1 ppg, 49.6 FG%) and Purdue Fort Wayne freshman Riley Ott (10.9 ppg, 2.0 apg).

2019-20 Women’s Basketball Postseason Awards
First Team All-Summit League
Paiton Burckhard, South Dakota State**
Ciara Duffy, South Dakota^**
Olivia Kaufmann, Western Illinois**
Keni Jo Lippe, Oral Roberts
Madison Nelson, Denver**
Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota**

Second Team All-Summit League
Julia Fleecs, North Dakota
Chloe Lamb, South Dakota**
Tagyn Larson, South Dakota State***
Lauren Loven**
Mariah Murdie, Omaha**

Honorable Mention All-Summit League
Montserrat Brotons, Oral Roberts
Taylor Fredericks, South Dakota
Michelle Gaislerova, North Dakota State
Madison McKeever, South Dakota**
Rylie Torrey, Oral Roberts

Summit League All-Newcomer Team
Ryan Cobbins, North Dakota State
Jentry Holt, Oral Roberts
Tori Nelson, South Dakota State
Riley Ott, Purdue Fort Wayne
Evan Zars, Western Illinois

^Player of the year automatically earns a spot on the first team
*Career of All-League honors

Player of the Year
Ciara Duffy, South Dakota

Defensive Player of the Year
Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota

Sixth Woman of the Year
Taylor Frederick, South Dakota

Freshman of the Year
Evan Zars, Western Illinois

Newcomer of the Year
Tori Nelson, South Dakota State

Coach of the Year
Dawn Plitzuweit, South Dakota

#SummitWBB

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