Nicole Seekamp’s 18 points led six South Dakota players in double figures as the Coyotes scored a key road win at Western Illinois 79-76 Saturday at Western Hall.
South Dakota (15-12, 6-6 Summit) shrugged off Thursday’s loss at Omaha to win for the fourth time in the last five games. The Coyotes stand in a three-way tie with Western Illinois (14-13, 6-6) and Fort Wayne (13-13, 6-6) in the Summit League standings with two games to go.
This game featured 14 ties and 18 lead-changes, 15 of which came in the second half. The teams were tied at halftime, 32-32. The largest lead of the game was six points by South Dakota, 50-44, seven minutes into the second half.
Like most close contests, it came down to free-throw shooting. The Coyotes made 10 in a row down the stretch and were 18 of 21 in the game. Seekamp gave USD a 77-74 lead with two free throws with 18 seconds left. USD junior Raeshel Contreras made two more with one second left for the game’s final points.
Western Illinois got a game-high 31 points from sophomore center Ashley Luke, whose bucket with four seconds left closed the Coyotes’ lead to 77-76. Both teams exchanged timeouts before Western fouled Contreras.
Luke was 12 of 24 from the field and made 7 of 10 free throws. Two of her misses from the line came in the final three minutes. Luke also led Western with eight rebounds.
South Dakota point guard Tia Hemiller flirted with a triple double. She had 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. She made two free throws with 1:10 remaining that put USD on top 73-72. She scored in the paint with 32 seconds left that made it 75-72.
Contreras had 15 points and Polly Harrington added 12 points and nine rebounds. The Coyote bench out-scored Western’s 23-2, led by 11 points from Bridget Arens and 10 from Margaret McCloud.
Western Illinois is the only team out of 11 that has beaten the Coyotes at home this season. The Leathernecks made 13 three-pointers in an 81-71 win in Vermillion back on Jan. 23. The Leathernecks were 5 of 17 from behind the arc in this one while USD made 7 of 17.
South Dakota wraps up the regular season next week at home inside the DakotaDome against North Dakota State (Thursday, Feb. 27) and South Dakota State (Sunday, March 2).
Courtesy: Brayn Boettcher, USD