The same balanced attack that propelled the South Dakota women's basketball team to the first undefeated season in the Summit League in 24 years has them rolling into round three of the 2018 WNIT.

Like they have been in the first two rounds, the Coyotes (28-6) will stay home for their next game, Thursday (March 22) night, against Michigan State.

USD has a 65-58 win over Houston and a 74-49 victory over Colorado State so far in the tournament, giving them 22 wins in their last 23 games.

Fast starts have been the recipe for success in the first two rounds with South Dakota shooting a combined 57 percent in the first quarter, outscoring opponents 46-22.

The Coyotes have also gotten quality contributions from a number of players in the pair of tournament victories:

  • Ciara Duffy - 30 points/16 rebounds
  • Jaycee Bradley - 27 points
  • Madison McKeever - 70% field goal percentage
  • Allison Arens - 16 rebounds
  • Jasmine Trimboli/Chloe Lamb - helping USD build a 32-3 advantage in bench scoring

Michigan State (19-13) finished ninth in the Big Ten Conference after an injury ridden season that saw the Spartans use 13 different starting lineups, with just three players appearing in all 32 games.

MSU is one of the best teams in the country distributing the basketball. The Spartans are 12th in the NCAA (181 per game) and guard Taryn McCutchen is third in assists (6 per game) in the Big Ten. Michigan State dished out 25 assists on 33 made baskets in their round one win over Cincinnati.

In that game the Spartans overcame 19 turnovers with 56 percent shooting and a plus-14 margin on the boards to win by six.

In a two-point victory over Toledo in round two, MSU was outshot and outrebounded, but forced 16 turnovers, which led to a dozen more shot attempts than the Rockets.

Like South Dakota, the Spartans have been very balanced offensively in the two WNIT games. Jenna Allen has scored 29 points, McCutchen 28, Taya Reimer 26, and Shay Colley 22. Branndais Agee has pulled down 13 rebounds.

Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Thursday in Vermillion.

I talked with Coyotes head coach Dawn Plitzuweit about the match-up