Summit League Women’s Tournament Preview: (1) South Dakota vs. (8) Fort Wayne
It's been nearly a quarter century since a Summit League women's basketball team was sitting in the same position as the South Dakota Coyotes heading into the Summit League Tournament.
USD (24-5/14-0) is the first women's team since the 1993-94 season, when the league went by the name Mid-Continent Conference, to run the table during the league's regular season.
Overall, the Coyotes have won 18 straight and head into the Summit League Tournament as the top seed for the third time in the last four years.
The open play with number-eight Fort Wayne, Saturday (March 3) afternoon.
The Mastodons (4-23/1-13) have lost ten straight and haven't shot better than 40 percent at any point during that stretch. They are at the bottom of most offensive and defensive categories in the Summit, scoring an average of 50 points a game while allowing 80.
Junior De'Jour Young is the only Fort Wayne player averaging in double figures (11 points per game), but she did miss the regular season finale against South Dakota State so her status is unclear.
The Coyotes swept the season series, winning by 42 at home and by 19 in Fort Wayne. USD scored a combined 96 points in the paint against the Mastodons and forced 37 turnovers in two games.
Tipoff is noon, Saturday in Sioux Falls.
The biggest challenge for South Dakota will be trying to respond after nine days off since their last game.
The Coyotes capped their perfect Summit League season with an 80-75 win over South Dakota State, last Wednesday (February 21) in Vermillion.
After allowing the Jackrabbits to shoot 60 percent in the first three quarters, the USD defense buckled down in the fourth, limiting SDSU to just 12 points on 19 percent shooting in the final ten minutes.
Jasmine Trimboli, the Summit League's Sixth Woman of the Year, led all Coyote scorers with 18 points off the bench.
I talked with USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit about the SDSU win the Summit League Tournament opener with Fort Wayne: