VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — For the first time in program history, the USD women’s basketball team was picked to finish first in the Summit League preseason poll after receiving 20 of the 34 first place votes, while senior guard Ciara Duffy was tabbed the conference’s preseason Player of the Year.
The Coyotes are coming off a 28-6 campaign in which they qualified for their 2nd NCAA tournament appearance, as they became the Summit League’s first program to earn an at-large bid into the tournament. USD returns four of its five starters, and Sixth Woman of the Year Hannah Sjerven. Four Coyotes received all-conference preseason honors with Sjerven joining Duffy on the first team, and both Chloe Lamb and Madison Mckeever receiving second team honors. The expectations in Vermillion are high, and despite last year’s success, the Coyotes have their eyes on some other goals they weren’t able to achieve last season.
“It was something none of us have ever gotten to do before, and getting an at-large bid was obviously a super cool thing, being the first team in the Summit League. But I also think we definitely want to kind of earn our way this year, in terms of maybe winning the conference tournament, because that’s another thing we haven’t ever been a part of,” Duffy said.
The Coyotes open their season on November 5th at Northeastern.