VERMILLION, S.D. | The South Dakota women's basketball team will get a chance to defend its Women's NIT crown.

The Coyotes will open the tournament at home at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center against North Dakota on Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner will face either Iowa or Missouri State in the second round.

USD (22-8) was one of three Summit League teams selected in the 20th year of the tournament Monday night along with South Dakota State and IUPUI.

The Coyotes were in the hunt for their third straight regular season conference title until the final game. It was a strong season under first-year head coach Dawn Plitzuweit for a USD team that had to replace four starters from last year's team.

Allison Arens leads the the Coyotes in scoring at 16.7 points per game while Jaycee Bradley is next at 12.7. Ciara Duffy hit for 11.3 and Abigail Fogg scored at an 11.0 clip.

Last season the Coyotes went on an impressive six-game run that ended with a victory in the WNIT championship game 71-65 over Florida Golf Coast.

USD's opponent as well as the date, time and place of its first game was announced late Monday night.#f