SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Hannah Sjerven scored 20 points with nine rebounds and second-seeded South Dakota earned its third straight NCAA Tournament bid with a 66-43 romp over eighth-seeded Omaha in the Summit League championship on Tuesday.
Chloe Lamb hit three 3-pointers and scored 17 points for the Coyotes (19-5), who won their ninth-straight game — including three tournament games by a total of 72 points. Lamb scored 57 points in the three games.
Freshman Lauren Frost led Omaha (7-13) with 10 points. The Mavericks became the first eight seed to win a game in the tournament when they got the program’s first win over a ranked team with a 52-40 win over No. 21 South Dakota State in the opener.
The dream ended for the Mavericks in the third quarter when they were outscored 20-9 to fall behind 49-30. The Coyotes hit 3 of 4 3-pointers and led by as many as 22. The lead peaked at 27 in the fourth.
Due to COVID-19 issues, the teams did not play in the regular season. Their last meeting was in the tournament’s first round last year with the Coyotes winning 99-40, which was the last game for coach Brittany Lange. Former Ohio State assistant Carrie Banks is now the head coach.
Omaha ended up shooting 32.5%, hitting 6 of 12 outside the arc, 7 of 28 inside, and had 17 turnovers.
South Dakota scored the first 13 points of the game, starting and ending with 3-pointers by Lamb. The Mavericks got back-to-back 3s from Mariah Murdie and Sophie Johnston to close within 21-20 but South Dakota scored eight straight, six by Sjerven, and led 29-21 at the break.
Four of the Coyotes’ losses were to ranked teams, including No. 1 South Carolina and No. 18 Gonzaga to start the season in the same building. They also dropped a weekend series at rival South Dakota State, No. 23, the first weekend in February. The other loss was at Oklahoma.
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