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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.
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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.
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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. They had 10 turnovers in the first quarter and 19 overall which led to 22 points for South Dakota. Baylor had only two points off the 14 USD turnovers.