All season long South Dakota and South Dakota State were the clear class of the Summit League and now they’ll settle things on the floor in the chamionship game of the 2019 Summit League Tournament.

A few hours after the top-seeded Jackrabbits punched their ticket with a semifinal win over Oral Roberts, the second-seeded Coyotes survived a very physical game with North Dakota, winning 84-61.

USD looked like they were going to make quick work of the Fighting Hawks in the opening minutes of the game. USD got five early points from Ciara Duffy and scored the first 13 points of the game as UND missed their first ten shots, finally breaking the drought more than six-and-a-half minutes in.

But then North Dakota’s physicality became a problem for South Dakota.

The Fighting Hawks visibly frustrated the Coyotes at each end of the floor and UND used that opportunity to cut a 13-point deficit to just two points after a 17-6 run over a four-minute stretch of the second quarter.

South Dakota regained their composure thanks to five straight points from Monica Arens late in the half, giving USD a 40-33 advantage at the break.

The beginning of the second half looked a lot like the start of the first half as the Coyotes rattled off the first ten points of the third quarter, opening up a 17-point lead in the process.

This time UND had no answer.

Taylor Frederick had eight points in the quarter for USD. She finished with 15 points. Allison Arens and Duffy each had 17 points.

The Coyote defense stifled the Fighting Hawks All-Conference star Lexi Klabo to just 4-of-19 from the floor. The regular season’s leading scorer finished with 12 points - six below her average.

Tuesday’s (March 12) championship match-up between South Dakota and South Dakota State will be the fifth in the last seven years. SDSU has won all four of the previous meetings.

During the regular season, the Coyotes and Jackrabbits split a pair of classic games.

USD won in double overtime on their home floor, while SDSU won in overttime in Brookings.

Tipoff is 1:00 PM, Tuesday in Sioux Falls.


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