SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (USD)– South Dakota returns to the Summit League Championship game for the eighth time in nine tries after knocking off third-seeded North Dakota State 81-55 Monday afternoon inside the Sanford Pentagon. USD will face eighth-seeded Omaha in a 1 p.m. final Tuesday on ESPNU.
“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 Coyotes (18-5) are looking for their third-straight NCAA Tournament berth tomorrow.
Senior Liv Korngable dropped 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and classmate Chloe Lamb added 18 more to lead the Coyotes to their third win over the Bison in 10 days.
North Dakota State (15-9) was led by Reneya Hopkins’ 13 points and Kadie Deaton’s 10 off the bench. Leading scorer Heaven Hamling, who had 49 points between the two regular season meetings, was held to 2-of-11 from the field.
South Dakota led 19-10 after one quarter, 42-26 at the half and never looked back. The Coyotes shot 52 percent from the field (27-of-52) while holding the Bison to 34 percent (19-of-56). The Bison’s big three – Hamling (7 points), Ryan Cobbins (8) and Emily Dietz (2) – combined for just 17 points on 4-of-21 shooting.
Korngable and Lamb on the other hand combined to make 15-of-23 from the field including 6-of-10 from 3-point range. South Dakota also got 13 points from freshman Maddie Krull, 10 from senior Hannah Sjerven and nine from sophomore Jeniah Ugofsky.
Redshirt-sophomore Allison Peplowski also stepped up and took advantage of her career high 20 minutes on the floor. She finished with six points and three assists.
The Coyotes’ efficiency was helped by solid ball movement with 17 assists on 27 buckets. The Bison looked to score off the dribble and had just two assists in the game.
South Dakota tips off the championship game for the fourth-straight year at 1 p.m. Tuesday back inside the Sanford Pentagon.