After dispatching Lamar in the second round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational March 24, the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team will return home to the DakotaDome to host a WBI semifinals match against McNeese State (20-14, 11-7 in Southland) at 7 p.m. March 28.
Junior forward Polly Harrington put up 15 points and four rebounds in USD’s 71-48 blowout victory over Lamar, while senior teammate Tempestt Wilson finished second on the team in scoring with 14 points. Senior point guard Alexis Yackley conducted the Coyote offensive barrage, dishing out nine assists while grabbing eight rebounds. Though she was held scoreless for the entire game, Yackley provided a critical offensive spark with her passing and ball handling, enabling the Coyotes to shoot 51 percent overall from the field.
The winner between USD-McNeese State will play either Detroit (19-13, 9-7 Horizon League) or Pennsylvania (18-12, 9-5 Ivy League) in the WBI championship game either March 30 or 31.
Seeded No. 8 in the West Region, McNeese State is coming off a pair of upsets against higher-ranked opponents in the tournament. In first round play, the Cowgirls upset top-seeded Mercer March 21 in decisive fashion, winning 82-71. McNeese State followed the upset narrative by beating No. 4 seed Elon by a score of 66-58.
South Dakota will match up against an outstanding guard duo in Ashlynn and Caitlynn Baggett. The pair of sisters are averaging a combined 34.2 ppg, accounting for nearly half of McNeese State’s scoring output during the season.
Against Mercer, Baggett put up a career high 38 points, going 17 for 17 from the free throw line while Ashlynn scored 26 points shooting 7-19 from the field in the Cowgirls’ upset of Mercer.