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Sports & Rec

South Dakota Sets Sights On Sweet 16 and Michigan

61bae1fac0_USD Coyotes Practice.jpg
University of South Dakota Athletics Department

The University of South Dakota women’s basketball team is preparing for the Michigan Wolverines this week. Both teams will meet up on Saturday evening in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

This has been a historic run for the Coyotes program this season. Not only did they win their first ever NCAA Tournament game, USD defeated Ole Miss this past Friday, but they upset No. 2 seeded Baylor in the Round of 32 on Sunday to advance to the coveted Sweet 16.

“Well, it’s fun,” stated USD head women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “It’s a great time having an opportunity to continue prepping and working, and continuing to figure the pieces out.”

No. 3 ranked Michigan topped Villanova in the Round of 32, setting up their matchup with USD.

“So far, after watching their game on Monday night, you realize how athletic they are, how tough they are. They really could have been the Big 10 champions as well,” Plitzuweit explained. “They can really rebound, they can really shoot it, they can score fast, they can go inside an out. Very complete team. A team that has been at this point in time before.”

This isn’t the first time a South Dakota DI college has advanced to the Sweet 16. In 2019, South Dakota State also made it to this point in the NCAA Tournament. Coach Plitzuweit mentioned that the level of women’s basketball in the Mt. Rushmore state is special.

“The state of South Dakota has had some really great women’s basketball programs, from our program and South Dakota State have done some really special things,” Plitzuweit exclaimed. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be [at USD] for a while, and see it continue to grow a little bit, and that’s really been a lot of fun.”

One of USD’s top players is South Dakota native and 2021-22 Summit League Player of the Year Chloe Lamb. Lamb was a stand out basketball player in high school at Sully Buttes high school in Onida, South Dakota. She was also one of coach Plitzuweit’s first recruits.

“Chloe was someone when I first met her and first watched her, she’s just a very humble person, but also a very skilled basketball player and a very fierce competitor,” Plitzuweit said smiling. “Getting to know Chloe and getting to know her family, not just her parents, but her extended family. I think Chloe has done an amazing job of not only being a great basketball player, but also being a great role model in her community and in our region. I think she’s just done a great job.”

South Dakota and Michigan will tip off at 5:30 pm CT on Saturday evening. The game will air live on ESPN2 and stream live on the ESPN app. The winner of Saturday’s contest will advance to the Elite 8.