WBB: USD picked to win Summit League title

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. –South Dakota and Coyote senior guard Ciara Duffy were named The Summit League preseason favorite and Preseason Player of the Year, respectively, for the upcoming 2019-20 women’s basketball season.

The Coyotes, who topped the preseason poll with 527 points, were selected as preseason favorites for the first time since joining the league in 2011. South Dakota received 20 of the 34 first-place votes in the preseason poll, while the remaining 14 went to reigning Summit League Tournament Champion South Dakota State (2nd; 496 points; 13 first-place votes) and Denver (3rd; 394 points; 1 first-place vote).

Duffy was voted The Summit League Women’s Basketball Player of the Year after receiving 28 of the 34 first-place votes. Joining Duffy on the Preseason All-Summit League First Team is teammate Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota State forwards Myah Selland and Tagyn Larson along with Denver forward Madison Nelson and guard Lauren Loven.

The Preseason All-Summit League Second Team is made up of the South Dakota duo of guards Chole Lamb and Madison McKeever and accompanied by South Dakota State guard Tylee Irwin, Western Illinois guard Olivia Kaufmann and Oral Roberts guard Keni Jo Lippe.

Points for the preseason poll were compiled on a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, while all-league teams were compiled on an 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. The top six vote-getters earned first-team honors and the next five were selected to the second team. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes or team.

The 2019-20 campaign begins in just under a month as South Dakota (at Northeastern), Oral Roberts (vs. Central Christian), Denver (at Kansas City), Purdue Fort Wayne (vs. Purdue Northwest) and Omaha (vs. Creighton) all play on opening night (Nov. 5). The Summit League regular season begins on Dec. 29 with three conference matchups.

The 2020 Summit League Tournament will be March 7-10 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

2019-20 Preseason Summit League Player of the Year
Ciara Duffy – South Dakota

Preseason All-Summit League First Team
Ciara Duffy, South Dakota, Sr., G (14.6 ppg/4.7 rpg/2.9 apg)
Tagyn Larson, South Dakota State, Sr., F (10.5 ppg/6.4 rpg/1.7 apg)
Lauren Loven, Denver, Sr., G (14.3 ppg/1.9 rpg/1.6 apg)
Madison Nelson, Denver, Sr., F (16.5 ppg/8.9 rpg/1.0 bpg)
Myah Selland, South Dakota State, Jr., F (12.5 ppg/5.4 rpg/3.3 apg)
Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota, Jr., C (11.8 ppg/5.9 rpg/1.9 bpg)

Preseason All-Summit League Second Team
Tylee Irwin, South Dakota State, Jr., G (7.5 ppg/3.7 rpg/1.7 apg)
Olivia Kaufmann, Western Illinois, Sr., G (16.0 ppg/5.4 rpg/3.8 apg)
Chloe Lamb, South Dakota, Jr., G (9.6 ppg/2.7 rpg/1.6 apg)
Keni Jo Lippe, Oral Roberts, Jr., G (13.3 ppg/5.2 rpg/1.9 apg)
Madison McKeever, South Dakota, Sr., G (7.8 ppg/2.9 rpg/1.9 apg)

*Preseason player of the year automatically earns a spot on the first team

Preseason Poll
Rank School (1st Place Votes) Points
1. South Dakota (20) 527
2. South Dakota State (13) 496
3. Denver (1) 394
4. Oral Roberts 370
5 Western Illinois 332
6. North Dakota 213
7. North Dakota State 181
8. Omaha 147
9. Purdue Fort Wayne 85

Preseason Summit League Notes

• Duffy was one of six Coyotes to play in all 34 games last season and started all of them. She led the Coyotes for the second-straight year in scoring at 14.6 points per game (495 total).
• Duffy finished the season ranked second in the league in free-throw percentage (87.4) and helped the Coyotes finish third nationally (79.1).
• Nelson, Larson and Kaufmann were all Second Team All-Summit League performers in 2018-19. Duffy looks to be named to the first team for the third consecutive season.
• Larson started all 35 games for the Jacks and led the team in rebounding (6.4) and blocked shots (43) while finishing the season second in the league in field goal percentage (54.5).
• Selland ranked second on the Jacks’ squad in assists (108) and blocked shots (18) while also ranking third for steals (40), 3-pointers (25) scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.4 rpg).
• Sjerven, the 2019 Summit League Sixth Woman of the Year, sat atop the league leaders last season in field goal percentage (57.0) and averaged 11.8 points per game.
• Nelson ranked third in the league in scoring (16.5 ppg) and was the top rebounder with 8.9 rpg. Teammate Loven lit it up from distance and is the top returning 3-point shooter in the league after knocking down 44.4 percent of her tries last season.
• Loven’s sharpshooting from behind the arc earned her The Summit League’s single-season made three-pointers record with 111.
• Irwin earned a starting role in all 34 of the Jacks’ games last season and finished the season ranked third on the team in blocked shots (15) and fourth in steals (33), rebounding (3.7 rpg) and 3-pointers (22).
• McKeever started in 33 games and averaged 7.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the Coyotes. She moved to 10th in USD history for career steals with 169.
• Kaufmann was fourth in the league in scoring with 16 points per game while also averaging 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Leathernecks.
• Lippe ranked fourth in the league from the charity stripe (84.5 percent) and shot 38.8 percent on the season and 37.6 percent from long range.
• Lamb started all 34 games for the Coyotes and averaged 9.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while also shooting at a 43.9 percent (122-278) clip from the field.
• Denver’s offense last season averaged a blistering 80.3 points per game (ninth in the NCAA) while shooting 38.6 from downtown (third in the NCAA). South Dakota State came in ranked 12th in the nation averaging 79.0 points per game.
• South Dakota earned the second at-large berth in Summit League history last season and made its second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
• South Dakota State, which finished the 2018-19 season with a 28-7 record after making its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, ended the season ranked 22nd in the final edition of the USA Today Sports Women’s Basketball Poll.