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Coyote women dancing for the first time

by Chris Tubbs

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—Polly Harrington’s 16 points led six South Dakota players who scored in double figures as South Dakota beat Denver 82-71 Tuesday in the championship game of the Summit League Tournament.

The Coyotes (19-13) earn the Summit’s automatic bid and will make their first Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in their second season of eligibility. The selection show will be televised on ESPN at 6 p.m. Monday (March 17).

Harrington averaged 15.7 points on 75 percent shooting (18 of 24) during the tournament’s three games and was named Tournament MVP. Nicole Seekamp had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists against Denver and joined Harrington on the five-person all-tournament team.

Raeshel Contreras scored 10 of her 13 points in four minutes down the stretch in which the Coyotes turned a 55-54 deficit into a 71-62 lead with less than five minutes to go. Her second triple of the game started the rally and put USD ahead for good.

It was Contreras’ last-second three-pointer two days ago against Western Illinois that saved the season and allowed the Coyotes to advance. Contreras made six three’s and averaged 13 points during the tournament.

Denver (9-23) placed five in double figures, led by Paige Bradley and Desiree Hunter’s 14 points. Hunter also had 10 rebounds. Theresa Wirth scored 13 points. Alison Janecek and Kailey Edwards scored 10 points each.

The game featured eight ties and 13 lead changes before the Coyotes took control late. USD led 33-32 at halftime and make 17 of 30 shots in the second half to earn the win.

Seekamp, last year’s Summit League Tournament MVP, averaged 18.7 points in Sioux Falls in this go around. In addition to her points, Seekamp had 18 rebounds, 19 assists and 13 steals in three games.

USD will make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008, when the Coyotes finished 33-2 and reached the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Tournament. It will be USD’s sixth NCAA tournament appearance since 1983.

Courtesy: University of South Dakota