SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The USD women are taking advantage of March Madness as the ten-seeded Coyotes are headed to their first ever Sweet 16.

USD used wins over seven-seeded Ole Miss (75-61) and two-seeded Baylor (61-47) to advance to the Sweet 16.

The Coyotes will now travel to Wichita, Kansas. They’ll play Michigan on Saturday, March 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Here are five takeaways from USD’s trip to Waco, Texas.

1 – Coyote defense Thrives

USD battled two talented offenses this past weekend in Waco and they found a way to slow both of them. Ole Miss and Baylor combined, score 144 points per game. USD allowed just 108 points in their two games against the Rebels and Bears.

The Coyotes’ defensive performance against Baylor was extra impressive. The Bears basketball program is known for its offense. Over the past five seasons, Baylor has averaged 81.7 points per game offensively. This year they’re scoring 77 points per game.

Photo courtesy Molly Sheppard/USD Athletics

USD found a way to hold Baylor to just 47 points in Sunday’s second-round win. That was a season-low by 11 points. It is also the lowest amount of points scored in a game by the Bears since December 30, 2015. Baylor scored 45 points in a loss to Oklahoma State.

2,273 days and 220 games later, the Coyotes held the Bears to just 47 points. They also held Baylor to just four points in the first quarter, which is a season-low.

USD owns the eighth-best scoring defense in the country as they are allowing just 53.1 points per contest.

2 – Shutting down the Nation’s Best

The Coyotes faced two of the top players in the country in Waco. They met Ole Miss’ Shakira Austin and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith.

According to an article by ESPN in February, Smith was projected to be the top pick in the WNBA Draft, while Austin was projected to be drafted third.

That means USD met two of the top three potential draft picks in next year’s WNBA Draft.

Austin and Smith combined, score 37.3 points per game. USD held the duo to just a total of 19 points in the two games. The duo was held to 7-27 shooting, which is just 25.9% shooting.

That ability to slow down some of the best talent in the country is what led to the Coyotes’ two upset wins.

3 – USD’s Big Three

The third takeaway from USD has to be their big three! The trio of players featuring Liv Korngable, Hannah Sjerven and Chloe Lamb have combined to score 92 of the Coyotes’ 136 points.

Photo courtesy Molly Sheppard

The trio has won three straight Summit League Championships, while advancing to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Despite all of those feats, the trio was looking was in search of something more, an NCAA Tournament win.

Now Korngable, Sjerven and Lamb have accomplished that feat and then some as they picked up two tournament wins.

The trio has certainly established themselves as three of the top players in the Summit League, given all the success they’ve had in their careers.

However, their success in Waco has now put them in the national spotlight and the big three have responded.

4 – Coyotes step up

The big three have been amazing, but a team doesn’t reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament with just three players contributing.

USD has gotten huge minutes from some other players like Kyah Watson, Maddie Krull, Allison Peplowski, Grace Larkins, Macy Guebert and Jeniah Ugofsky.

Photo courtesy Molly Sheppard

The six players have given crucial minutes, specifically on defense. The effort from them to help execute the defensive game plan has been important.

Krull has scored 19 points in the tournament, while Kyah Watson has added 16.

Watson and Peplowski, along with Sjerven have been the main defense against the tallest player USD has had to face. The rest of the players have helped defensively, to add pressure to their opposing post players.

5 – USD playing at their best

The Coyotes have beaten two Power 5 schools, one of which is a top team in the country.

The Baylor women’s basketball team is a perennial power and USD’s upset win was as impressive as they come.

USD did not trail in either game, in fact, they led by double digits most of the tournament.

Courtesy USD Athletics

That dominance has established the Coyotes as more than just another Cinderella team. It’s established them as a force that no opposing team will soon overlook.

USD’s efficiency on offense and lock-down ability on defense will certainly make them a very tough opponent to whomever they’ll face going forward.

When the Coyotes play at their best, as they did in Waco, they can beat just about anyone in the country.

For now, USD will take their ‘Big Dance’ journey one game at a time and hope to continue the momentum gained in Texas.


USD will continue their NCAA Tournament run in the Sweet 16. They’ll play three-seeded Michigan on Saturday, March 26 in Wichita, Kansas. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.

KELOLAND News will have coverage of the Coyotes tournament run from Kansas. Make sure to check KELOLAND News both on-air and online.