VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) – Montana scored 19 unanswered points to start the second quarter and rode that wave to a 76-60 win against South Dakota Sunday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
It was the first win for the Grizzlies (3-6) in the series in three tries. They end a four-game losing streak while sending South Dakota (4-6) to its fifth consecutive defeat. It is the first time the Coyotes have lost five consecutive games at the Division I level (15 seasons).
Libby Stump led Montana with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The Grizzlies also got 15 points from Sammy Fatkin and 12 from Keeli Burton-Oliver. Montana shot 48 percent from the field while holding South Dakota to 34 percent.
Grace Larkins scored 18 points to lead South Dakota but was 6-of-21 from the field. Walker Demers (10 points) and Cassidy Carson (eight points) combined for 18 points off the Coyotes’ bench. Jeniah Ugofsky had nine points and eight rebounds.
“These are times where we have shown growth and fight throughout the season, and now we just have to string it together for four quarters,” said USD head coach Kayla Karius.
Larkins had 10 points in the first quarter and South Dakota seemed to be in control with a 20-12 lead thru one. But the game flipped in the second quarter. Stump and Montana made 7-of-10 to start the second while South Dakota missed eight in a row. Before the Coyotes could mount a response, Montana flipped an eight-point deficit into a 34-21 lead with 3:30 to go in the first half.
The Grizzlies outscored the Coyotes 30-6 in the frame and led 42-26 at the break. Stump and Burton-Oliver combined for 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting in the second quarter.
Ugofsky and Morgan Hansen scored seven points apiece during a third quarter in which the Coyotes cut the lead to 46-43 with three minutes to go. But Montana countered with a quick 9-4 burst to end the third and got back-to-back 3-pointers from Mack Konig and Fatkin to push the lead back to 14.
South Dakota lost at home for the third time this season after entering the year with a 78-5 record inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. The Coyotes host UT Martin Wednesday in a women’s and men’s doubleheader in what will be the team’s final non-conference bout. That game tips off at 5:30 p.m.