Hillmon’s 17 put Michigan women past S. Dakota in Sweet 16

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

WICHITA, Kan. — Michigan earned its chance to keep making history, and believed in it.

The third-seeded Wolverines reached the Elite Eight for the first time with a 52-49 win over tenth-seeded South Dakota on Saturday night, helped by Naz Hillmon’s 17 points and 10 rebounds and Laila Phelia’s 14 points – including a go-ahead layup in the final minute.

“We have players that came in here with this vision and this belief that they could do something incredibly special,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “They wanted to be a part of that Block M and that excellence, and here we are sitting at the table going to the Elite Eight. It’s just a dream like you could never imagine, but it’s people that came together and created something incredibly special. It’s awesome.”

Michigan (25-6) will play No. 1 seed Louisville on Monday with a trip to the Final Four at stake. The teams met earlier this season on Dec. 2, when Louisville beat Michigan 70-48.

South Dakota (29-6) was trying to become just the fifth double-digit seed to reach the Elite Eight. The Coyotes had won 27 of 28 and were coming off a stunning upset of No. 2 seed Baylor.

“It’s hard to lose,” South Dakota coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. “You always want one more. But it certainly wasn’t from a lack of effort, lack of anything. We just needed to make one more play in all reality.”

Hannah Sjerven had 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out for the Coyotes. Chloe Lamb, the Summit League Player of the Year who averaged 16 points per game, was held to just six points.

Lamb said the fact that South Dakota had a historic season won’t ease her short-term pain.

“Losing sucks for a lot of reasons,” she said. “I think one of those being you forget all the good stuff that happened, right?”

The Coyotes nearly pulled off another win. With the crowd overwhelmingly on their side, they held the Wolverines without a field goal for 3:40 to start the game and led for much of the first half.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Grace Larkins put the Coyotes ahead 25-23 in the second quarter, and they led 26-24 at the break thanks to 11 points from Sjerven. Phelia, who had averaged just under nine points per game for the season, scored 12 in the first half to keep Michigan in the game.

Michigan took a 39-38 lead into the fourth quarter, with Hillmon scoring nine points in the third.

A mid-range jumper by Lamb rattled in to tie the game at 48 with 48.5 seconds remaining.

Phelia made a layup with 22 seconds remaining, and Brown later made two free throws to put the Wolverines up by four.

South Dakota’s Maddie Krull made the first of two free throws to cut Michigan’s lead to 52-49 with 7.5 seconds left. She unintentionally missed the second, and there was a scramble for the ball before it went out of bounds. It wasn’t immediately clear whom the ball last touched, but South Dakota got it after the referees’ review.

But the Coyotes couldn’t get a clean look, with Kyah Watson missing a 3 as time expired.

“I think we were probably outsized in every position and maybe out-athleticized in all positions, and to our ladies’ credit they kept fighting and competing and found a way to be in that game and have an opportunity,” Plitzuweit said. “I’m proud of our young ladies for what they did.”


South Dakota: Lamb, Sjerven and Liv Korngable are super-seniors who came back to make a run. They did that, nearly propelling the Coyotes to the Elite Eight for the first time. The other two starters are freshmen. With that foundation and the support the Coyotes received along the way, the program appears to be in good hands.

Michigan: The Wolverines got off to a rough start in what was essentially a road environment and scraped out a win despite Hillmon – a first-team All-American – going scoreless in the first quarter.

“I think sometimes my defense gets me going … I knew if I could continue that motor and get my teammates second opportunities by getting offensive boards, that would help me and I can get into the flow of things,” she said.


Sjerven played 28 minutes and made 7 of 11 shots. She picked up all five of her fouls in the second half and played just nine minutes after the break. When she fouled out, the Michigan bench celebrated wildly.


Thousands of South Dakota fans made the trip, and they were active throughout the game. Even after the game, they started a “U-S-D” chant as the Michigan band played its school song. Lamb referred to the crowd as a “sea of red.”


Barnes Arico at the postgame media session: “I’m not sure what I look like. I borrowed some clothes to get here because we had a celebration in the locker room.”

South Dakota women shock Baylor, win 61-47

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

WACO, Texas — Hannah Sjerven scored 16 points and Chloe Lamb added 15 as 10th-seeded South Dakota beat No. 2 Baylor 61-47 on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first-time ever.

The Coyotes (29-5) scored the game’s first 11 points and led throughout against 12-time Big 12 regular-season champion Bears, who had won 17 consecutive NCAA tourney games played on their home court since 2011.

Summit League champ South Dakota was the second No. 10 seed to beat a No. 2 seed on Sunday, after Creighton won 64-62 at Iowa earlier in the day. They were the record eighth double-digit seed to win a game in the women’s tournament this year.

Queen Egbo had 13 points while two-time AP All-America forward NaLyssa Smith matched her season low with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting for the Bears (28-7), who saw the end of their streak of 12 consecutive Sweet 16 appearances. Smith and Jordan Lewis each had eight rebounds.

Liv Korngable had 11 points for the Coyotes. She is the third super-senior starter, along with Summit League player of the year Lamb and Sjerven, who returned for another NCAA chance. They are now headed to Wichita next weekend.

In a building where Baylor rarely loses, the Coyotes had a loud contingency of roughly 150 fans, cheerleaders and pep band members that got to celebrate with them. The fans in the seats behind their bench stood chanting “U-S-D!” in the closing seconds, and celebrated with their team long after Baylor had left the court.

Baylor had won 66 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents since UConn won in the Ferrell Center on Jan. 13, 2014.

The Bears won their 12th consecutive Big 12 title even after losing their first two conference games with Nicki Collen, the WNBA coach who took over when three-time national champion coach Kim Mulkey left for LSU after last season. But they have their earliest NCAA tourney exit since 2008.

South Dakota, in its 10th year of Division I eligibility, is in its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament, and fifth overall. But the Coyotes had never won a tourney game before the last few days.

The Coyotes had an 11-0 lead less than three minutes into the game by hitting their first four shots. Sjerven made a 3-pointer on the first shot, just like she did in their 75-61 victory over Mississippi when leading throughout in the first-round Wichita Region game Friday.


South Dakota: The Coyotes, an experienced group, played with confidence and were fearless on the road against a perennial Top 10 team while becoming on the second Summit League team to make the Sweet 16. Along with the three super seniors, South Dakota had two second-year freshmen in the starting lineup.

Baylor: The Bears shot a season-low 31.5% from the field (17 of 54) and were held 30 points below their season average in scoring. Their had 10 turnovers in the first quarter, and 19 overall that led to 22 points for South Dakota. Baylor had only two points off the 14 USD turnovers.

Oregon women hold South Dakota to 9 1st-half points, cruise

Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard - USA TODAY Sports Images

SAN ANTONIO – The school that could have won the canceled women’s NCAA Tournament last year stumbled into tournament this year with a whole new cast.

Except for Erin Boley and she made sure Oregon, which had lost five of six games, ended its funk.

Boley scored 22 points and the 23rd-ranked Ducks closed out the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament late Monday night with a sleeper, downing South Dakota 67-47.

“We said from the time we left Vegas, from the Pac-12 tournament, that we were going to turn this around and end this season strong,” Boley said. “And I’m really really proud of this team. We came out and played so hard tonight.”

The 11th-seeded Coyotes missed their last 25 shots of the first half and were held to a near-record low in trailing 34-9 at the break.

“We just felt that this was the kind of team that, if we were just going to stay back and play kind of soft defense, they were going to pick us apart,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “So we had to be the aggressive team.”

Nyara Sabally added 17 points and Sedona Prince 12 as the sixth-seeded Ducks (14-8) took advantage of their size on both ends of the floor to head into a second-round matchup Wednesday with third-seeded and 10th-ranked Georgia in the Alamo Region.

Boley, a senior who spent her freshman year at Notre Dame, surpassed 1,000 points with the Ducks.

Hannah Sjerven scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Summit League champion Coyotes (19-6). Liv Korngable added 15 points for the Coyotes, who were in their fourth NCAA Tournament.

Oregon made quick work of this one, The Coyotes made their first two shots before Prince and Sabally both made two baskets and a Boley 3-pointer capped an 11-0 run for a 13-4 lead.

After Korngable scored at the 4:15 mark of the first quarter, the Coyotes missed their next 25 field goals. And after Sjerven made two free throws a minute later, they didn’t score again until she made another free throw four seconds before the half.

South Dakota was just 3-for-32 shooting.

“It’s hard to get a flow of the game going when your shots aren’t falling and that’s something, obviously, no one expects coming into a game,” Sjerven said.

The Coyotes ended their drought with their first shot of the third, making 8 of 20 shots and outscoring Oregon 20-16 in the quarter but the damage was done.

Oregon finished the game at 60% (27 of 45), making 6 of 12 from 3-point range and all seven free throws but had an unsightly 23 turnovers. South Dakota was 13 of 33 (42.4%) in the second half.


Oregon got an addition to its record book, allowing just nine points in the first half. The previous record was 10 scored by Saint Francis 15 years ago. Meanwhile, it was the second-fewest allowed in a half of an NCAA Tournament game. Prairie View scored eight in the first half against Baylor in 2011.


Oregon chose to go tall – as in 6-foot-7 Prince, 6-5 Sabally and 6-2 Boley – across the front line against the Coyotes, whose only 6-foot starter is Sjerven at 6-3. South Dakota’s second-tallest player is 5-11, the size of the Ducks’ two guards.


Graves had to mention the men’s tournament, where his old school Gonzaga, “starring” walk-on Will Graves, was on a collision course to possibly meet Oregon in the Elite Eight.

“You know what? I’m kind of anticipating an Elite 8 battle against the Ducks and my son, who plays for the Zags. Wouldn’t that be something? Don’t ask me who I’m cheering for in that, but I’m really proud of them. I think it’s great for our whole athletic department.”

Freshmen aim to make a big impact in women’s NCAA Tournament

Paige Bueckers controls the ball
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville coach Jeff Walz got a preview two years ago of just how good the current national crop of freshmen were going to be once they started their college careers.

Walz coached the United States to a gold medal in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup with an undefeated squad that included included Paige Bueckers (UConn), Caitlin Clark (Iowa), Cameron Brink (Stanford) and Haily Van Lith (Louisville).

“They were all just terrible players until I had a chance to coach them up,” he joked. “But seriously, they competed with each other, against each other. They’ve all had such good experience and international experience and played at a high level that they’ve been able to come into college and be impact players right away.”

A look at some of the freshmen expected to have an impact on March Madness.


The the Big East’s player of the year and national player of the year candidate has received the most attention of the talented freshman class, averaging 19.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.3 steals. She is one of only three freshman to be named a first-team AP All-American.

She is shooting 54% from the floor and and 47.4% from 3-point range.

One of three freshmen who see significant playing time for the Huskies (post Aaliyah Edwards and guard Nika Muhl are the others), she’s already has hit game-clinching shots against rival Tennessee and South Carolina.

“Listen, I’m not boasting. But if I talked to every single coach in America and they told you, they’d rather have their freshmen than Paige, I would tell you they’re only saying that to be nice to their own players,” coach Geno Auriemma said. “Because there’s things that they’ve seen Paige do that no other freshmen can do.”

UConn opens against High Point on Sunday.


Iowa’s star led the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten title game and led the nation in scoring at 26.7 points per game.

Clark, who has hit 103 shots from 3-point range, said confidence and playing on a big stage have never been a problem.

“I think I’ve always kind of had that,” she said. That’s always been a part of my game. But I think my teammates have definitely helped as well. They’ve kind of given me the keys and shown that they trust me and I trust them as well.”

The Hawkeyes are a No. 5 seed and will take on Central Michigan on Sunday.


Walz’s freshmen duo are both scoring about 11 points per game.

They each rank in the top six in both scoring and rebounding among freshmen in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Van Lith has three 20-point games this season and Cochran has put up four double-doubles.

“They’ve done a remarkable job of coming in right away and having an immediate impact on our program,” Walz said. “And for us, that was a must. We needed for them to have that kind of impact.”

The No. 2 seed Cardinals take on Marist on Monday.


In this case, the absence of a freshman may have an impact on the tournament.

The Duck’s point guard, an all Pac-12 selection, averaged 10.2 points and 4.4 assists in her 19 starts, but suffered a right foot injury in late February and has been sidelined since.

“If we can somehow get her back, by the grace of God, what a lift that would be,” coach Kelly Graves said Monday. “But I don’t anticipate it will be this first weekend.”

The sixth-seeded Ducks, who have lost four of their last five games, take on South Dakota on Monday.


Leger-Walker led her team to its first NCAA Tournament in 30 years, averaging just under 19 points per game.

The native of New Zealand scored 20 or more points 12 times this season, more than any other player in the league.

“It’s been a great first season, for me personally and for the team,” she said after being named the Pac-12 freshman of the year. “A lot of learning curves and a lot of successes along the way. A lot of history this year as well, and it’s been really cool to be a part of.”

The ninth-seed Cougars face South Florida on Sunday.


Brink has been a force for the Cardinal in the paint, averaging 10.2 points a game while shooting 58.2% from the field. She’s also blocked 64 shots.

She’s scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots in the team’s Pac-12 semifinal win over Oregon State, helping the Cardinal to a 14th league title.

“She’s a lot better than she was in November,” coach Tara VanDerveer said. ‘Seh didn’t get a summer to be on campus to train and work out. She learned our offense on Zoom. It took her a while to get the flow of things. She’s doing terrific.”

The top-seeded Cardinal take on Utah Valley on Sunday.

Filer leads Omaha women to upset of No. 21 South Dakota St

Erin Bormett / Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Josie Filer scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Omaha became the first No. 8 seed to defeat the top seed in the Summit League women’s tournament, shutting down 21st-ranked South Dakota State 52-40 on Saturday.

To get their first-ever win over a ranked team, the Mavericks limited SDSU to 22.4% shooting and forced 20 turnovers, ending the Jackrabbits’ 18-game winning streak. South Dakota State was 6 of 24 from 3-point range, 7 of 34 inside the arc.

The Jackrabbits did fine defensively but the loss of Summit League player of the year Myah Selland, who missed the last three games of the regular season with a leg injury, finally caught up to them.

The Jackrabbits, who swept Mavericks 62-50 and 64-54 in an 18-0 regular season, came in averaging 71.8 points a game while Omaha allowed 71.4.

In the last game before reeling off 18-straight wins, SDSU scored 48 points, shot 33.3% and had 21 turnovers, all season-worsts.

Mariah Murdie had career highs of six steals and five blocks to go with nine points and five rebounds for Omaha (6-12). Sarah Schmitt had six assists.

Tylee Irvin and Paiton Burckhard scored 10 points apiece for the Jackrabbits (21-3), who had won eight straight in the series and are now 31-4 in the tournament.

Omaha had a 16-4 advantage in points off turnovers with 14 steals and 26-12 on points in the paint. The Mavericks were 2 of 11 from 3-point range, shot just 39% overall and went 14 of 24 from the foul line.

No. 23 South Dakota State women rally to beat South Dakota

Erin Bormett / Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Tylee Irwin hit a go-ahead jumper with 14.1 seconds left, Myah Selland and Paiton Burckhard combined for 48 points, and No. 23 South Dakota State scored the last 13 points of the game to beat South Dakota 80-75 on Saturday night.

Irwin’s bucket gave the Jackrabbits a 76-75 advantage. Following a South Dakota timeout, Tori Nelson stole the Coyotes’ inbounds pass and then made a pair of free throws with 9.2 seconds remaining to stretch the Jackrabbits’ lead to 78-75.

After another Coyotes’ timeout, Chloe Lamb shot an air ball on a 3-point attempt with five seconds left. Nelson sealed it with a pair of free throws.

South Dakota State (15-2, 8-0 Summit League), which also beat South Dakota 64-45 on Friday night, has won 12 straight.

Selland scored 26 points with two 3-pointers for South Dakota State. Burckhard finished with 22 points and made four 3s. Irwin added 12 points and Nelson had 11.

Lamb had 18 points to lead South Dakota (10-5, 6-2). Hannah Sjerven scored 10 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter. Liv Korngable added 15 points.

Jeniah Ugofsky’s 3-pointer gave the Coyotes their largest lead, 75-67 with 2:56 remaining. Ugofsky finished with seven points.