SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—South Dakota women’s basketball has been picked as the preseason favorite in the Summit League Preseason Poll for the second-straight year, senior center Hannah Sjerven was tabbed the Summit League Preseason Player of the Year and classmates Chloe Lamb and Monica Arens joined her on the league’s preseason teams. The preseason poll and teams, announced by the league office Monday afternoon, were voted on by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors and select media members.
The Coyotes are coming off one of the best seasons in Summit history after running the table in league play, capturing the Summit League Tournament trophy and achieving the highest national ranking bestowed up on a Summit team. In an unprecedented turn, the postseason was cut short for No. 17/11 South Dakota as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the NCAA Tournament for the first time in history.
South Dakota returns three starters in Sjerven, Lamb and Arens from that squad. Returning all-league picks Sjerven and Lamb were two of six on the preseason first team, while Arens was voted to the preseason second team.
The Coyotes received 25 of 36 first-place votes and tallied 587 points to top the poll.
Sjerven hails from Rogers, Minnesota. The Summit League Preseason Player of the Year and first team recognition follows a successful 2019-20 campaign where she racked up the Summit League’s Defensive Player of the Year, Tournament MVP and first team honors. Sjerven averaged 12.2 points and 7.3 boards per game last season. She was the most accurate shooter in the league at 58.1 percent. Defensively, she led the Summit in blocks (63), ranked fourth in rebounds (235) and 10th for steals (46). Sjerven ranks fourth on USD’s career blocks charts with 126. Her presence in the league tournament, with 14.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and three blocks per game while shooting 63 percent, led the Coyotes to the trophy stage.
This marks the third time a Coyote has been named the Summit League Preseason Player of the Year. Sjerven follows Ciara Duffy (2019-20) and Nicole Seekamp (2015-16) in receiving the preseason recognition.
Lamb is from Onida, South Dakota. The preseason first team pick was a second team all-league player last season while averaging 11.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Lamb was also on the all-tournament team and academic all-league team. She led the Coyotes in 3-pointers made with 57 while making them at a league-leading 47.1 percent clip. The mark put her .04 shy of the South Dakota program record for single-season 3-point percentage. She also boasted the second-most assists (68) and third-most steals (41) among the Coyotes. Lamb enters her senior campaign 64 points shy of 1,000 for her career.
Arens is a native of Crofton, Nebraska. The preseason second-team honors marks the first Summit League recognition for the senior. Her 9.3 points per game average last season was a career best as were her marks for rebounds (3.9) and shooting (45.7 percent). Arens also had 59 assists, 37 steals and led the Coyotes for charges taken with 31.
The Coyotes are under the direction of three-time Summit League Coach of the Year Dawn Plitzuweit, who begins her fifth season at South Dakota in 2020.
Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
|Rank||School (1st Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||South Dakota (25)||587|
|2.||South Dakota State (11)||566|
|5||North Dakota State||371|
2020-21 Preseason Summit League Player of the Year
Hannah Sjerven – South Dakota
Preseason All-Summit League First Team
Paiton Burckhard, South Dakota State, Jr., F (14.2 ppg/5.7 rpg/1.8 apg)
Chloe Lamb, South Dakota, Sr., G (11.2 ppg/3.3 rpg/2.1 apg)
Keni Jo Lippe, Oral Roberts, Sr., G (18.5 ppg/8.0 rpg/2.5 apg)
Mariah Murdie, Omaha, Jr., F (11.1 ppg/6.0 rpg/1.2 bpg)
Myah Selland, South Dakota State, Jr., F (13.8 ppg/5.0 rpg/3.0 apg *statistics for nine games in 2019-20)
Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota, Sr., C (12.2 ppg/7.3 rpg/2.0 bpg)
Preseason All-Summit League Second Team
Monica Arens, South Dakota, Sr., G (9.3 ppg/3.9 rpg/1.8 apg)
Julia Fleecs, North Dakota, Jr., F (12.2 ppg/4.8 rpg/0.7 apg)
Tylee Irwin, South Dakota State, Sr., F (8.5 ppg/5.1 rpg/2.3 apg)
Tori Nelson, South Dakota State, So., F (9.7 ppg/3.9 rpg/1.0 spg)
Evan Zars, Western Illinois, Jr., F (9.1 ppg/9.3 rpg/1.5 bpg)