VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — The University of South Dakota Women’s basketball team has won back-to-back Summit League Tournament titles and with nearly the entire roster back from a year ago, the Coyotes are looking for their 4th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
USD returns 98 percent of its scoring from the top offensive team in the Summit League last year, a big reason why the Coyotes were picked as the conference preseason favorites.
“Our personal expectations for ourselves are higher, if not matching the outside noise that we see,” Senior Guard Chloe Lamb said.
USD’s super senior trio of Chloe Lamb, Hannah Sjerven and Liv Korngable accounted for 64 percent of the team’s scoring, but their roles, along with senior Regan Sankey aren’t defined by stats.
“They’ve got an energy level to them. They articulate themselves at a very high level. They’re confident, but they’re also a group that’s highly competitive. They want to continue to be challenged. All of that makes for something that’s very special,” Head Coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.
Freshman Cassidy Carson, Carley Duffney and Grace Larkins are the only new faces this year.
“Our sophomore class coming into that kind of COVID scenario, coming in late, kind of almost feeling behind can put on a lot more pressure. So I’m glad for our freshman and younger kids that they have more time to develop confidence and feel comfortable,” Senior Liv Korngable said.
The Coyotes expect last year’s four freshman to take that next step.
“I think that group that we had last year, our young kids as you might say, the experiences they had last year and getting to the tournament is only helpful,” Lamb said.
USD plays teams from the Big 12, Big Ten, ACC and number 1 South Carolina among its non conference slate, but this veteran team is ready.
“We have an opportunity to grow through those challenges. We’re going to have an opportunity to know what we have to do to get better at who we are, and at the same time, we believe it’s going to prepare us for the very competitive Summit League again,” Plitzuweit said.
USD opens its season at home on Tuesday against Big 12 foe Oklahoma. They’ll then play Number 1 South Carolina on Friday, November 13th at the Sanford Pentagon.