Clutch Coyotes survive scare in Tulsa, remain undefeated with 77-73 road win


TULSA, Okla. (USD) — South Dakota junior guard Chloe Lamb scored a career high 24 points to lead the Coyotes to a 77-73 road victory against Oral Roberts inside the Mabee Center.

No. 21/16 South Dakota (24-2, 13-0 Summit) survived its closest Summit League contest this season, having entered the game with an average win margin of 36 points and its second-closest league contest being a difference of 21 points.

Oral Roberts (12-14, 7-6 Summit) loses its third game at home this season. It’s the Coyotes’ fifth win in the Mabee Center with four of those games being determined by five or fewer points.

“Today was a battle from start to finish and our young ladies were extremely resilient in the face of adversity,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Our ability to make both clutch plays and shots down the stretch allowed us to pick up a really important road victory.”

Lamb previously scored 23 points twice in her career, including earlier this season against Drake. She had 10 of her 24 points by the beginning of the second quarter.

Joining her in double-figures were senior guard Madison McKeever with 13 points, junior guard Monica Arens with 11 points, senior forward Taylor Frederick with 10 points and senior guard Ciara Duffy with 10 points. This marks the third-straight game for USD with five or more players in double-figures.

Oral Roberts was led by guard Katie Kirkhart with 22 points. Guard Keni Jo Lippe, who dropped a Summit League record 46 points last week at NDSU, was 3-of-12 from the field. Lippe finished with 17 points with the help of 10 trips to the free-throw line. Center Montserrat Brotons added 16 points.

South Dakota jumped out to a 21-5 first quarter lead as they have throughout conference play, holding Oral Roberts to 15 percent from the field. Shots started falling for the Golden Eagles in the second period and the Coyotes’ dwindled from 19 to one. McKeever knocked down a triple at the end of the half to make it 35-31 headed into the locker room.

Oral Roberts tied up the contest four minutes into the third quarter, but a quick 11-2 run by the Coyotes with five points from Frederick and six from Lamb, returned the lead to nine.

The Golden Eagles may have never led in the second half, but they did not allow the Coyotes to get comfortable either. ORU closed it down to a two-point game five times in the final two minutes. South Dakota closed it out by making all of its free throws down the stretch following strategic ORU fouls.

The Coyotes shot 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the field with eight 3-pointers. Oral Roberts finished at 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the floor with four triples. South Dakota committed a season-high 20 turnovers, which the Golden Eagles capitalized on offensively.

South Dakota returns to the court at home on Thursday, hosting North Dakota State at 7 p.m. inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

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