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    USD WBB: South Dakota 84, North Dakota 61

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—Four Coyotes reached double-figures as South Dakota came out victorious 84-61 over North Dakota in the Summit League Tournament semifinals on Monday inside the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. 

    South Dakota (28-4) heads to the Summit League Tournament’s championship game for the sixth time in seven years of eligibility. It will be the fifth time the Coyotes will meet South Dakota State (25-6) in the tournament final. Both teams were receiving votes in today’s Associated Press Top 25 poll. 

    “Today was a physical contest, but we did a nice job of making some important plays, especially in the third quarter,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “We now have to get recovered and prepared to play a very good opponent tomorrow. We need to paint the Premier Center red and we hope to see all of Coyote nation in attendance tomorrow!” 

    Senior guard Allison Arens and junior guard Ciara Duffy both finished with 17 points in the contest. Junior forward Taylor Frederick added 15 more and junior guard Madison McKeever was the fourth Coyote in double-figures with 10 points. 

    The Coyotes got off to a hot start, holding North Dakota (12-19) scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game and leading 13-0. 

    North Dakota charged back in the second quarter, getting to the free-throw line and using a quick 7-0 spurt to close USD’s lead down to 29-27. A reverse scoop layup from Duffy and an offensive put-back by Arens kept the Fighting Hawks at bay. The Coyotes took a 40-33 lead into the halftime break. 

    South Dakota roared ahead with a 26-11 third quarter with the Coyotes’ largest lead of the game, 64-41, coming at the end of the third period. USD held even in the fourth quarter to win 84-61.

    North Dakota was led by senior guard Melissa Dailey’s 17 points. All-Summit League senior forward Lexi Klabo added 12 points on 19 shots, while senior guard Jill Morton also had 12 points. 

    Arens was 7-of-9 from the field to reach 17 points, while grabbing eight rebounds and handing out three assists. Duffy had six boards to go with her 17 points. 

    McKeever only attempted two field goals, but reached 10 points by going 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. She also handed out three assists. 

    The Coyotes were balanced across the board with sophomore guard Chloe Lamb contributing nine points and five rebounds, while sophomore center Hannah Sjerven tallied seven points, seven boards and three blocks. Sophomore guard Monica Arens also had seven points. 

    South Dakota advances to the Summit League Tournament championship game scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

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