No. 24/18 Coyotes cruise past Mastodons 79-25

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VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — No. 24/18 South Dakota continued its streak of blistering hot starts as the Coyotes defeated the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons 79-25 inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Friday night.

This marks the third-straight game where the Coyotes (18-2, 7-0) have led by more than 20 points after the first frame. While the Mastodons (4-15, 0-6) may have kept the Coyotes within two points at the half in their first meeting, tonight’s tale included a 52-10 halftime lead.

“Tonight we did a great job of being locked in from the start,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “In a game that had a lot of stoppages and not great flow at times, we did a great job, especially defensively of staying locked in and finishing possessions.

“We now have to get prepared for another team on a one-day prep. Our attention to detail and ability to recover quickly will be key.”

South Dakota’s stat sheet was well balanced with four players in double-figures and 10 players scoring. Senior guard Ciara Duffy led the way with 13 points, seven assists, six boards, three steals and a pair of blocked shots. Junior center Hannah Sjerven pitched in 12 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Junior guard Chloe Lamb contributed 11 points with three rebounds and a steal. Classmate Monica Arens tallied 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with six boards, two blocks and a steal.

Purdue Fort Wayne did not have a player reach double-figures.

The Coyotes’ smothering defense helped them jump out to a 24-7 first quarter. USD had 12 of its 31 points-off turnovers in the game. The Coyotes’ 19 steals was the second-highest by the team this season. Junior guard Liv Korngable led the way with a career high five thefts.

South Dakota continued to impress in the second quarter as the team tallied six of its 10 blocked shots in the frame. Six different players blocked a shot in the game. Senior Madison McKeever, a 5-foot-6 guard from Erskine, Minnesota, posted a new career high with two blocks in the contest. She previously had blocked a shot in 16 games. McKeever also added nine points and three steals to her stat line.

Purdue Fort Wayne kept the third-quarter close, but South Dakota ran away with it in the final frame. The Mastodons did not make a field goal in the fourth quarter.

South Dakota finished 46.3 percent (31-of-67) from the floor while holding Purdue Fort Wayne to 20.9 percent (9-of-43) from the field. USD’s defense also did not allow a Mastodon 3-pointer in 16 tries.

The No. 24/18 Coyotes return to action at 1 p.m. Sunday as they wrap up a three-game home stand with Oral Roberts.

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