South Dakota won the Summit League Tournament championship in sweeping fashion. | Photo by Aaron C Packard/USD
Ciara Duffy, Summit League Player of the Year and Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year, led the South Dakota Coyotes to an undefeated conference record and trip to the now-canceled Big Dance.
The NCAA isn’t releasing a bracket this year but at Swish Appeal we’ve decided to make one anyway, based on this formula created by our Zack Ward. Here’s a recap of one of the 64 teams who made the cut according to the Swish Appeal bracket:
No. 23 South Dakota Coyotes
The South Dakota Coyotes ended their 2019-20 season on a tear, winning their last 19 games to seal a 30-2 record overall and a 16-0 sweep through Summit League play.
The Coyotes chewed through Omaha, Oral Roberts and South Dakota State in the Summit League Tournament, winning in the three games by an average of 28.7 points per contest. At the time the NCAA pulled the plug on tournament season due to the global coronavirus pandemic, South Dakota had won the Summit League regular-season title, the Summit League Tournament championship, and were preparing for their turn at the now-canceled Big Dance.
South Dakota’s two losses were to Top 25 teams: Missouri State (Nov. 25) and South Carolina (Dec. 22), then with No. 22 and No. 5 rankings, respectively. For this dominance, the Coyotes place a solid 23rd in the Swish Appeal hypothetical bracket. South Dakota perhaps would have placed even higher with wins over one or both of those ranked opponents or a tougher schedule that enabled them to face stiffer competition.
Still, the Coyotes had a lot of bright spots this season:
Finished No. 17 in the final AP Top 25 Poll and No. 11 in the final USA Today Coaches Poll
Duffy also earned an AP All-America honorable mention
Hannah Sjerven led the Summit League with 58.1 percent field goal shooting
Chloe Lamb dominated the Summit League shooting 47.1 percent from 3-point range
Duffy led the Summit League with 160 total assists
Sjerven led the Summit League with 63 total rejections
Highlights: Ciara Duffy in action
What a day! Congratulations Ciara on being named the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year this morning!
— #17/11 South Dakota Women’s Basketball (@SDCoyotesWBB) March 31, 2020
The Coyotes certainly will miss the well-rounded contributions of Duffy, but with juniors Lamb and Sjerven returning for 2020-21, they have a chance to repeat this season’s spectacular run.