VERMILLION — South Dakota women’s basketball enters the USA Today Coaches Poll for the first time this season at No. 24. The Coyotes were ranked for five-straight weeks last season from Feb. 12 to March 12.
The Coyotes (7-1) boast wins over the Big Ten’s Ohio State, the SEC’s Missouri and the Pac-12’s Utah this season. South Dakota also took down Missouri Valley favorite Drake and Horizon League favorite Green Bay. The Coyotes’ lone blemish on the season came at the hands of Missouri State who has improved to 18th in the poll.
Summit League Preseason Player of the Year Ciara Duffy has reached double-digit scoring in all eight contests, averaging 17.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. Junior guard Monica Arens, junior center Hannah Sjerven and junior guard Chloe Lamb all join her in double-figures.
South Dakota put up its largest scoring margins of the season with solid wins at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas. The Coyotes defeated Ohio State 68-53 on Friday behind a near triple-double from Duffy. Saturday’s 91-48 rout of Northern Illinois was an all-around team effort as the Coyote bench saw its most minutes of the year. South Dakota tied its program record for 3-pointers made with 17 in the game. Duffy went on to be named the tournament’s MVP.
The Coyotes enter the longest homestand of the year with four-straight games inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. South Dakota hosts Creighton at 7 p.m. today (Wednesday).