The Coyotes finished the season with a 26-6 record and earned an automatic bid to the 64-team WNIT after finishing as the regular season champions in the Summit League. South Dakota boasted a 20-game winning streak from Dec. 19 through March 5, before falling to South Dakota State 65-50 in the Summit League Championship game.
“First and foremost, I want to thank God for every opportunity he has given me and this program,” Head Coach Ronald Hughey said. “We’re extremely excited to get an opportunity for postseason play. It’s a testament to all the hard work from our players, our staff and our administration. I can’t say enough about all the hard work and time that everybody has put into this. I’m really excited about the opportunity to continue our season and be able to chase a championship in the WNIT.”
"We’re super, super excited to continue our season. To have another opportunity to play for a championship. An opportunity to redeem ourselves after the last time we were on the court (98-72 AAC First Round loss to 12-seed Tulsa).
"Where the program was four years ago, no one could fathom in their imagination where we are right now; and, where we’re headed.
“I’m just so excited. So excited. I’m happy for the kids that they’ll get a chance to continue to play.”
SCOUTING THE COYOTES South Dakota enters Thursday’s contest with a 26-6 overall record and was the 2018 Summit League regular season champion. The Coyotes advanced to the Summit League Championship Game, but eventually fell to South Dakota State.
South Dakota shoots 46.6 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the 3-point line, leading to 74.3 points per game. The Coyotes are allowing opponents to score just 58.4 points per game on 40.4 percent shooting from the field and 32.1 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
South Dakota has a trio of players that average double figures in scoring, including Ciara Duffy, who paces the Coyotes with 11.7 points per game. Allison Arens ranks a close second with 11.5 points per contest, while Jaycee Bradley adds 10.1 per night.
The Coyotes are balanced on the boards, with Ciara Duffy and Arens pacing the team at 4.7 rebounds per game.
TOP PERFORMERS Houston: The Cougars were led offensively and on the glass by Serithia Hawkins who scored a game-high 17 points and pulled down a career-best 16 rebounds to register her seventh double-double of the season and the 18th of her career. Angela Harris finished the game with 15 points, while Julia Blackshell-Fair added a career-high 11.
South Dakota: The Coyotes had four players reach double-figures in scoring, including a team-high 12 from Jaycee Bradley. Ciara Duffy finished the contest with 11 points, while Madison McKeever and Allison Arens each had 10. Arens paced the Coyotes with nine rebounds.
NEWS AND NOTES
With the WNIT game, Houston made its first appearance in the postseason since the 2010-11 season. The WNIT bid was the fifth all-time for the Cougars, and they now hold a 5-6 record in the tournament.
With 16 rebounds in the contest, Serithia Hawkins now has 722 in her career, moving her into sixth all-time on the Houston rebounding list. Hawkins passed Toni Mooney (1980-84; 707), Chandi Jones (2000-04; 714) and ShaRonda Lasseter (1997-01; 715) in the effort.
Angela Harris made three 3-pointers in the contest, to give her 85 on the season. Harris finishes the year second on the all-time 3-pointers made in a season list.
Houston outrebounded the Coyotes in the contest 46-34, and held a 17-8 advantage on the offensive glass. The 17 offensive rebounds led to an 11-3 advantage on second-chance points for Houston.