(Courtesy South Dakota Coyotes)
It was a rivalry showdown unlike anything in recent memory. No. 25/21 South Dakota women’s basketball came out firing on all cylinders to defeat in-state rival South Dakota State 83-48 in front of 5,153 fans inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Sunday afternoon.
No. 25/21 South Dakota (17-2, 6-0) now stands alone at the top of the Summit League standings after handing South Dakota State (14-7, 6-1) its first loss in league play.
Prior to Sunday, South Dakota State’s worst loss in Summit League play was 16 points in a 67-51 loss at Oakland on Jan. 5, 2009. The Jackrabbits are a team who have lost just 33 times since joining the league – with nine of those coming against the Yotes since 2012.
South Dakota senior guard Ciara Duffy recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 boards. She also handed out four assists. Junior center Hannah Sjerven joined her in double-figures with 16 points, five boards and a block. Both junior guard Chloe Lamb and senior forward Taylor Frederick scored nine points.
South Dakota State got 12 points from senior center Megan Bultsma and 11 from sophomore forward Paiton Burckhard.
“Today our young ladies, along with our amazing crowd in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, brought a phenomenal amount of energy in this game,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Our awareness, intensity and attention to detail defensively allowed us to get stops early which helped us gain momentum.
“With the game being moved, we now have less recovery so we have to take care of our bodies and get prepared for another short prep scenario in playing on Friday and Sunday this coming week.”
The Coyote momentum built up early behind a 26-6 first quarter. Senior guard Madison McKeever scored all seven of her points in the period as the Yotes shot 61 percent from the floor. The Jackrabbits shot 25 percent from the floor and committed five turnovers in the first.
While South Dakota State found its offensive momentum in the second quarter, the Coyotes kept pace and USD took a 42-24 lead into the locker room.
South Dakota carried its gritty defensive effort into the third quarter. The Jackrabbits, who were averaging 21 third-quarter points entering Sunday, were held to nine points on 27 percent from the field. The Coyotes outscored the Jacks by six in the fourth quarter to win by 35 points. True freshman Macy Guebert, the younger sister of the Summit League’s career leading 3-point shooter Madison (SDSU ’19), knocked down a pair of triples in the final three minutes.
The Coyotes’ stingy defense has now held three-straight opponents to under 50 points. This was just the second time this season that the Jackrabbits did not reach the 50-point threshold.
South Dakota finished 53.4 percent (31-of-58) from the field and made 10-of-20 (50 percent) outside the arc. Five of the 10 3-pointers were scored in the final frame. SDSU shot 36.7 percent (18-of-49) from the floor and just 17.6 percent (3-of-17) behind the arc.
Next up for the No. 25/21 Coyotes are a pair of Summit home games next weekend. South Dakota hosts Purdue Fort Wayne at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by Oral Roberts at 1 p.m. Sunday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.