Michele Maher’s 27 points led four Western Illinois starters to double-digit point totals as the Leathernecks handed the South Dakota women’s basketball team its fourth straight loss with an 81-71 win at the DakotaDome on Thursday night.
Maher was 7-of-10 from the beyond the 3-point arc and became the sixth player to score 20 or more points against USD in the last four games. Paige Harmon tallied 16 points going 5-for-5 with four 3-pointers, Ashley Luke was one rebound short of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, and Tori Niemann chipped in 12 points for the Leatherneck (10-9, 2-2) effort.
South Dakota (9-10, 0-4) was led by 12 point efforts from both Tia Hemiller and Kelly Stewart. Bridget Arens added 11 points to USD’s total, while Raeshel Contreras scored seven points and tallied six steals and six assists.
South Dakota held advantages in bench points (34-7), points off turnovers (23-15), points in the paint (24-22) and second chance points (12-10) but could not overcome WIU’s shooting. Western Illinois shot 49 percent (27-of-55) in the game and shot 44 percent (13-of-29) from beyond the 3-point arc.
USD trailed by 16 (65-49) with 7:35 to go in the game, but was able to cut the lead down to five with a 13-2 run over the next three minutes. The run ended on a trey by Niemann to extend WIU’s lead to 70-62 with 4:09 remaining, and the Leathernecks would score on six of their final eight possessions to stretch their lead to as many as 13 in the final moments.
USD will host Omaha in the DakotaDome on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Courtesy: Jarrod Tell, Assistant Sports Information Director/Video Coordinator, University of South Dakota