Fourth-quarter run pushes No. 24/18 South Dakota past Oral Roberts 79-56


VERMILLION, S.D.—No. 24/18 South Dakota used a 19-2 run starting at the end of the third quarter to run away with a 79-56 victory over Oral Roberts on Sunday afternoon inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

“Today was a battle from start to finish,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “We started well, but our awareness and attention to detail had a few moments were we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. Our young ladies responded well in the second half and that proved to be the difference in the game.

“We are now on the tail end of our stretch of three games in six days. We have to quickly prepare to go on the road on Wednesday night. We hope to see Coyote Nation down in Omaha at 7 p.m.”

No. 24/18 South Dakota (19-2, 8-0) remains undefeated at the midway mark of league play and have won each Summit game by at least 20 points. For the second-straight year, Oral Roberts (8-12, 3-4) ended USD’s streak of holding opponents under 50 points. The Coyotes came into Sunday having kept four-straight foes below 50.

Four Coyotes reached double-figures in the contest led by junior guard Monica Arens and senior guard Ciara Duffy with 18 points apiece. Arens drained five 3-pointers, while also grabbing seven boards and blocking three shots. Duffy dished out five assists and pulled down three rebounds in the game. Duffy moved into fourth on USD’s all-time career scoring list in the game.

Senior guard Madison McKeever recorded her highest scoring game of Summit play with 14 points. She now sits eight points away from 1,000 in her career. McKeever also handed out four assists, pulled down four boards and stole the ball three times.

Junior center Hannah Sjerven’s stat line included 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

Oral Roberts was led by junior guard Keni Jo Lippe, a Summit League preseason pick, with 16 points and eight boards. After leading the charge for the Golden Eagles early, the Coyote defense held Lippe without a bucket in the second half. Senior guard Rylie Torrey also reached double-digits with 12 points.

Although the Golden Eagles never had a lead in the game, they remained well-matched with the Coyotes in the first half. South Dakota entered the break up seven, 37-30, with a layup by Lippe just before the buzzer.

All five Coyote starters scored in the opening minutes of the third quarter to try and pull away, but a pair of layups including a 3-point play by ORU’s Regan Schumacher cut the lead back to eight.

South Dakota’s 19-2 run began with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter on a layup by Taylor Frederick. Five players scored during the run with seven from Duffy and five from McKeever.

The Coyotes shot 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field and 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from behind the arc. The Golden Eagles finished with 42.6 percent (23-of-54) from the floor and 33.3 percent (6-of-18) from 3-point range.

Sunday marked Plitzuweit’s 99th victory at USD. She will go for win No. 100 on Wednesday night at Omaha. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside of Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska.

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