VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota senior guard Ciara Duffy scored a team-high 22 points as the No. 20/15 Coyotes rolled past North Dakota State 96-57 inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Thursday night.
No. 20/15 South Dakota (25-2, 14-0 Summit) clinched at least a share of the Summit League regular season title on Thursday night with the victory. The Coyotes visit second-place South Dakota State on Saturday for their first chance to win the title outright. It marks the fourth regular season title by the Coyotes in the last six years and the second championship for USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit.
“Tonight our energy and effort was really good from the start,” said Plitzuweit. “This was a special night for a couple of reasons. The support from everyone for a great cause for breast cancer awareness and the funds raised for Dakota Hospital Foundation with our jersey auction made this an incredible evening.
“On top of that, the members of Coach P’s Pack made it a memorable evening and it was awesome to have our yearly reunion with those young ladies in grades three through eight.
“We now have to turn around and get prepared and rested quickly for our game on Saturday afternoon.”
Duffy scored 22 points on 10-15 shooting with just one triple – she sank several long jumpers just inside the 3-point line. She added four assists and three steals.
Junior guard Chloe Lamb and senior forward Taylor Frederick also reached double-figures. Lamb tallied 15 points and Frederick added 12 more.
Junior center Hannah Sjerven pitched in a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Five of her boards were on the offensive glass, as the Coyotes outscored the Bison 17-5 on second-chance points.
North Dakota State (8-17, 5-8 Summit) won the opening tip and got off to a hot start. The Bison made eight of their first 11 buckets to finish the first period shooting at a 72.7 percent clip. However, the Coyotes got five offensive boards in the first quarter and forced seven Bison turnovers to lead 25-18 after one. Frederick scored seven of her 12 points in the opening frame.
South Dakota’s defense slowed NDSU’s momentum in the second period with the Bison only scoring seven points. The Coyotes led 49-25 at the half. South Dakota drew out its lead to 37 points by the start of the fourth period.
Five Coyote bench players played the entire fourth quarter with junior guard Claudia Kunzer and senior forward Megan Bonar each scoring seven points. It marked a season-high against a Division I opponent for both. Freshman forward Jeniah Ugofsky added six points with four rebounds.
Bison guard Michelle Gaislerova and freshman guard Ryan Cobbins paced the Bison with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Cobbins was the only Bison to reach double-digits with the Coyotes in the first meeting.
South Dakota shot 51.5 percent (34-of-66) from the floor while North Dakota State made 44.7 percent (21-of-47) from the field. The Coyotes capitalized with 31 points off 24 Bison turnovers on the night.
South Dakota turns around to face in-state rival South Dakota State at 2 p.m. Saturday inside Frost Arena in Brookings, South Dakota.