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Coyotes Win Summit League Tournament Championship, Advance To NCAA Big Dance

In just their second year in the conference, the South Dakota Coyotes are champions of the Summit League women’s basketball tournament.

USD downed Denver 82-71 in the title game Tuesday afternoon in Sioux Falls.

The Coyotes, runners-up in last year’s tournament to South Dakota State, rode a balanced crown to the title, as six players scored in double figures, including a team-high 16 from tournament MVP Polly Harrington.

The game featured 13 lead changes and eight ties, and saw the Coyotes take control midway through the second half.

All-Tournament selection Nicole Seekamp had 11 points and eight rebounds, Raeshel Conntreras added 13, Margaret McCloud 11, Tia Hemiller and Bridget Arens 10 each.

The Pioneers grabbed an early seven-point lead on the strength of 60 percent shooting in the first nine minutes, as Jordan Johnston had five quick points off the bench.  The Denver defense also helped out, forcing five USD turnovers during that stretch.

The Coyotes responded later in the half with a 60 second, 7-0 run to grab their first lead, as reserves Taylor Moore and Bridget Arens had a three and a layin, and starter Tia Hemiller added a layin to put USD up by three.  They led 33-32 at halftime, as the Coyote bench outscored Denver 16-8.

Margaret McCloud led the way with nine, the Pioneers were paced in the first half by Kailey Edwards with eight.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament selection show is Monday at 6:00pm on ESPN television.

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