South Dakota advances to The Summit League Championship Game for the Second-Straight Year

South Dakota advances to The Summit League Championship Game for the Second-Straight Year

Press Conference: (2) South Dakota(6) North Dakota

The Basics
Score: No. 2 South Dakota 84, No. 6 North Dakota 61
Records: South Dakota (28-4), North Dakota (11-19) 
Location: Denny Sanford PREMIER Center - Sioux Falls, S.D.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – No. 2 seed South Dakota won a physical battle with No. 6 seed North Dakota Monday in the Summit League semifinals, advancing with an 84-61 victory behind a balanced scoring attack.

South Dakota showed its defensive prowess early, holding the Fighting Hawks scoreless for the opening six minutes while building a 13-0 lead. North Dakota stayed the course, however, and after trailing 20-10 at the quarter break used a burst of eight unanswered in the second to crawl within five (23-18) at 7:07.

A pair of Faith Dooley free throws three minutes later pulled the Fighting Hawks to 29-27, but USD held North Dakota at bay down the stretch and carried a 40-33 lead into the locker room.

The Coyotes came out strong in the third quarter, extending its lead into double figures before the six-minute mark with a 10-0 run. USD shot nearly 70 percent for the quarter and pushed its lead over 20 on a pair of Hannah Sjerven free throws at 3:00.

Down 66-44 after three, North Dakota tested South Dakota once more in the fourth, putting together a 13-3 rally midway through the quarter. The Coyotes countered with a 12-2 run of their own, however, to finish out the win.

Allison Arens and Ciara Cuffy led the Coyote attack with 17 points each, as Arens was 7-of-9 from the field and Duffy had a trio of 3-pointers with six rebounds. Arens' eight boards led USD as well, as the senior guard narrowly missed a double-double.

Taylor Frederick had 15 points and Madison McKeever rounded out the top Coyote scorers with 10, hitting all eight of her free throw attempts.

Three Fighting Hawks were in double figures, as Melissa Dailey paced the squad with 17. Jill Morton and Lexi Klabo added 12 points apiece, as Klabo and Dooley each had seven rebounds.

USD meets No. 1 seed South Dakota State in the Summit League Championship title game Tuesday for the second-straight year. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

Turning Point

  • The Coyotes started fast in both halves, beginning the first period with a 13-0 run and the third with a 10-0 spurt. North Dakota rallied in the second and fourth quarters, but the early separation provided USD with an insurmountable cushion.

Inside the Box Score

  • South Dakota hit 26-of-30 at the free throw line and North Dakota went 16-of-18 at the stripe
  • USD outscored UND by 16 in the paint, 44-28
  • The Coyotes shot over 50 percent in the first (50), second (54.5) and third (69.2) quarters
  • South Dakota was plus-seven on the boards, 38-31

News & Notes

  • South Dakota is 13-5 all-time in the tournament, 6-0 in the semifinals and 2-0 as the No. 2 seed
  • North Dakota is 1-1 all-time in the tournament and reached the semifinals in its inaugural tournament appearance
  • In three matchups between UND and USD, the teams combined for 174 fouls and 159 free throw attempts.
  • USD posted a margin of victory of at least 20 points for the 14th time this season

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