VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota women’s basketball knocked off the SEC’s Missouri 72-56 in front of 2,407 fans inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Thursday night. It marked the second-straight victory over a Power 5 opponent for the Coyotes, who have won six games against major schools in the last four seasons.
“Our team played with a lot of poise tonight against a very good team in Missouri,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Our ability to handle a variety of defenses from Mizzou and defend from start to finish was the difference in the game.
“Tonight the environment inside the SCSC was absolutely electric and our fans made an impact on the game from start to finish. We will need to pack the Sanford Coyote Sports Center again on Monday as we host a team in Missouri State that is playing really good basketball.”
For the first time this season, the Coyotes (5-0) topped an opponent by more than 10 points and ran away with it in regulation. Missouri (1-4), who has also had a pair of overtime games this year, loses its first contest by double-figures.
Another game, another career high for junior guard Monica Arens. She’s tallied three new career highs in five games this season. Arens finished with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while also grabbing six boards in the contest.
Senior guard Ciara Duffy was limited to 13 points in the contest, but dished out eight assists to become the fifth player in South Dakota program history to tally 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists (Amber Hegge, Nicole Seekamp, Tia Hemiller, Allison Arens).
Senior forward Taylor Frederick was the third Coyote in double-figures with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while also pulling down five rebounds.
The Tigers and the Coyotes battled it out in the first half with neither team leading by more than two possessions. Duffy drilled a pair of 3-pointers within a minute to kick off South Dakota’s 17-6 run at the end of the second quarter.
South Dakota led by nine after the third quarter and the Coyotes pulled away further in the fourth. Junior center Hannah Sjerven drilled her first 3-point attempt of the season to put the Coyotes up 59-44 midway through the final period. The Coyotes remained steady down the stretch to top the Tigers 72-56.
The Tigers were led by freshman forward Hayley Frank’s 15 points off the bench. Senior guard Jordan Chavis and freshman guard Aijha Blackwell both joined her in double-figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
South Dakota made 47.2 percent (23-of-53) from the field while Mizzou shot 34.5 percent (19-of-55) from the floor. The Coyotes also sank 11-of-22 from behind the arc with Sjerven, freshman forward Jeniah Ugofsky and junior guard Claudia Kunzer making their first or second 3-pointers of the season.
South Dakota welcomes a top-25 team to the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Monday night, as the Coyotes tip-off against No. 22 Missouri State at 7 p.m.