SIOUX FALLS, SD (Courtesy University of South Dakota) — South Dakota senior guard Allison Arens tied her season-high of 26 points as the Coyotes fell 83-71 to South Dakota State in Tuesday’s Summit League Tournament championship game inside the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
South Dakota State (26-6) earns the Summit’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. South Dakota (28-5) has earned its spot in a postseason tournament for the ninth consecutive season.
Arens and sophomore center Hannah Sjerven were named to the all-Summit League Tournament team.
In addition to her 26 points, Arens grabbed seven boards, stole the ball three times and had a pair of assists.
Joining her in double-figures was sophomore guard Chloe Lamb with 14 points and Sjerven with 13 points and nine boards. Sjerven had eight points and seven rebounds in eight minutes in the first half.
The two teams were evenly matched through the first 10 minutes with USD taking a 17-15 advantage. Arens took control early in the second quarter, either scoring or assisting on a series of shots that put the Coyotes up 28-18 midway through the second.
Then with Sjerven in foul trouble and USD leading scorer Ciara Duffy sidelined from a first-quarter injury, South Dakota State roared back with a 22-2 run to lead by 11. Sjerven returned for the final minute of the half, scoring back-to-back buckets.
South Dakota State extended its lead in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Coyotes fought back to win the fourth quarter, but never brought it closer than eight points.
The Coyotes have held a double-figure lead in four of their five losses this season.
The Jackrabbits were led by Summit League Player of the Year Macy Miller’s 30 points and 11 rebounds. Accenting Miller was senior classmate Madison Guebert with 22 points.
South Dakota State shot 50 percent (24-of-48) from the floor and behind the arc (9-of-18). South Dakota made 32.4 percent (23-of-71) from the field.
The Coyotes will await their postseason fate with Selection Monday slated for March 18.