South Dakota became the latest double-digit seed to upset a national powerhouse in the NCAA Tournament, defeating Baylor 61-47 in the second round on Sunday.
Baylor had been seeking its 12th consecutive Sweet 16 appearance, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA Tournament history. Instead, the Coyotes will advance to their first in school history after also upsetting 7-seed Oregon in the first round for their first tournament win.
South Dakota went 8-for-16 from 3-point range Sunday, compared to Baylor’s 19.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc, to dominate the matchup from beginning to end. The Coyotes also capitalized on points off of turnovers, outscoring the Bears 22-2 in that category.
South Dakota held the Bears scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game and went ahead by as much as 16 in the third quarter. South Dakota coach Dawn Plitzuweit called her squad, which has yet to trail in a game during the tournament, “fearless.”
“I just kept thinking, ‘We’ve just got to kind of hang tight,'” Plitzuweit told reporters after the game. “Been thinking about it a lot the last couple days with the draw that we have, two Power 5s … to now be able to see, ‘OK, maybe it didn’t come right away, but now we have a chance to do something really special.’”
South Dakota center Hannah Sjerven led all scorers with 16 points, four rebounds and four steals. Chloe Lamb and Liv Korngable had 15 and 11 points, respectively. The trio combined for nearly 70 percent of South Dakota’s points in the contest.
“Just doing everything at a very high, 100 percent level, not doing anything half-heartedly,” Korngable said of the effort. “Pulling from coaches and players and each other, that’s a big, big part of our fearlessness and confidence.”
Queen Egbo led Baylor with 13 points and seven rebounds. Top WNBA Draft prospect NaLyssa Smith had 10 points and eight rebounds on 4-for-11 shooting from the field.