South Dakota advanced to round three of the 2018 WNIT with a 74-49 win over Colorado State, Sunday (March 18) in Vermillion, but It was more than just a basketball game. This one felt like a celebration of Coyote basketball, past and present.

On the opposing bench was Rams’ head coach Ryun Williams, a former player in the USD men’s program and the first Coyote women’s coach in the Division I era. One of his assistants is Amber (Hegge) Cunningham, USD’s third all-time leading scorer. The connection didn’t end there. CSU’s director of basketball administration is Chad Lavin, the winningest coach in Coyote women’s basketball history - 273 victories.

Once the ball went in the air though, the history lesson quickly transitioned into a South Dakota shooting clinic.

USD (28-6) made six of their first ten shots and knocked down 4-of-6 from behind the three-point arc in the first quarter to lead by nine, six minutes in. Madison McKeever had two of those first quarter triples. The Coyotes finished with 13 made three’s on the afternoon.

At the other end, the South Dakota defense turned the Rams over three times in the first six minutes and held CSU to just 4-of-13 from the floor in the first ten minutes, leading 24-12 after one quarter.

The long distance express chugged on for the Coyotes early in the second quarter as three more three-pointers found their mark in the first four minutes, pushing the USD lead to 19. Five different players hit triples in the first half as the Summit League regular season champs led 40-22 at intermission.

The rest did a world of good for the Colorado State offense, which was perfect for the first five minutes of the third quarter - seven attempts, seven makes, including four three-pointers - and just like that USD’s lead was down to five points.

But the Rams’ uprising was turned back even more quickly by the Coyote offense.

Over the next 4:30, South Dakota ran off ten straight points and heading to the fourth quarter with a 15-point advantage and CSU on the ropes.

In the final quarter, the Coyotes needed less than 90 seconds to deliver the knockout punch, running off another eight straight, to extend their lead to 23 points.

Ciara Duffy led four USD double figure scorers with 19 points. Jaycee Bradley added 15, Allison Arens and Chloe Lamb each had ten.

Arens and Jasmine Trimboli had seven rebounds each, as the Coyotes enjoyed a plus-13 day on the glass.

South Dakota, winners of 22 of their last 23, will host the winner of Monday’s (March 19) Michigan State - Toledo game in round three, Thursday (March 22) at 7:00 PM.


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