KANSAS CITY, Mo. (USD) —South Dakota guard Nicole Avila-Ambrosi made a jumper in the paint with 5.2 seconds left for the winning points in a 74-73 win against Kansas City Saturday inside the Swinney Center.
It was the eighth consecutive win in the series for South Dakota (14-15, 10-8 Summit) who secured the No. 4 seed in next weekend’s Summit League Tournament. The Coyotes will face No. 5 Oral Roberts at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5, in Sioux Falls.
The winning points came after South Dakota trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half and by six, 73-67, with two minutes to go.
Grace Larkins, who led South Dakota with 14 points, made a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 73-70 and buried another jumper following a defensive stop that made it 73-72 with 1:23 left. It took two more defensive stops to setup Avila-Ambrosi’s heroics.
South Dakota moved up court following a key Larkins’ rebound with 15 seconds left and Macy Guebert threw a perfect bounce pass to a cutting Avila-Ambrosi in the paint. Avila-Ambrosi rose up and banked in an 8-footer from straight on that gave USD its first lead since late in the first quarter.
Kansas City had 5.6 seconds to work a play in the front court, but South Dakota’s Morgan Hanson forced a jump ball with 0.2 seconds left and Carley Duffney intercepted a desperation heave to end the game.
Larkins led four South Dakota players who scored in double figures, but all eight Coyotes scored at least five points. Guebert had a season-high 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and her final pass gave her a career-high six assists. Avila-Ambrosi’s 10 points came in 23 points off the bench. It was her fifth game this season with at least 10 points.
Kansas City (7-22, 3-15 Summit) had three players in double-digits, including two scoring 20 or more points. Manna Mensah put up a game-high 23 points while E’Lease Stafford followed with 20 points and six rebounds. Sanaa’ St. Andre also added 17 points. Those three combined to take all but three shots for the Roos.