Sophomore guard Ciara Duffy posted her first collegiate double-double with a career high 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead South Dakota in a 79-51 rout of Denver on Saturday afternoon inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Coyotes (9-5, 1-0 Summit) took their 10th-straight game against the Pioneers (8-7, 0-1 Summit) in series history. South Dakota also moves to 5-2 all-time in Summit League openers.
“Our start today was huge for us,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Our defensive intensity and energy is key and I thought we started the game focused in defensively.
“We now turn our attention to a quality North Dakota State team that plays especially well at home. We will need a couple of good practices to kick off 2018 with the same energy and passion that we played with today.”
South Dakota scored 13 unanswered points in the first five minutes as Denver committed four turnovers. The Coyotes forced their opponent into 22 turnovers for the third-straight game.
The Coyotes never trailed in the game and led by as much as 30 with 1:42 remaining. USD outscored Denver 32-8 inside the paint.
Duffy scored 15 of her career high 24 points in the second half. She made 10-of-12 shots from the field and grabbed 10 boards, which ties her career high. It marked her first collegiate double-double and first double-double by a Coyote this season. Duffy has averaged nearly 17 points and six boards while shooting at a 50 percent clip since returning to the starting lineup four games ago.
Joining Duffy in double figures was sophomore guard Madison McKeever and junior guard Jaycee Bradley. McKeever scored 17 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists and had a pair of steals. Bradley tallied 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and tied her career high of five assists.
South Dakota shot 50 percent (27-of-54) from the field and converted 85.7 percent (18-of-21) from the line. Denver made 36.4 percent (16-of-44) from the field in the game.
Denver was paced by sophomore Lauren Loven and freshman Claire Gritt with 10 points apiece. Gritt was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field.
Senior guard Jasmine Trimboli played for the first time against her former head coach Jim Turgeon. Turgeon and Trimboli spent two years together at Iowa Western Community College, advancing to the NJCAA quarterfinals with a 31-4 record in 2014-15. Turgeon is in his first season with Denver. Trimboli scored eight points and swiped a pair of steals in the Coyote victory.
South Dakota travels to Fargo, N.D., to continue Summit League action with North Dakota State on Jan. 2. It will be the Coyotes’ first road trip in nearly a month following a five-game homestand.
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