(Courtesy University of South Dakota Athletics)
South Dakota senior guard Ciara Duffy tied her season-high of 23 points to lead the Coyotes to a 96-64 victory over Montana on Sunday afternoon inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The Coyotes (11-1) won all four games of their home stand by an average margin of 37 points.
“Today our young ladies did a great job of moving the ball and establishing our offense around the rim, which opened up opportunities for clean looks from the perimeter,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “We have to finish up the last couple days of finals on a good note and then we will turn our attention to a very good South Carolina team on Sunday.”
In addition to her season-best of 23 points, Duffy handed out a career-high nine assists to nearly tally a double-double. She also stole the ball three times and grabbed four rebounds.
Junior center Hannah Sjerven tallied 18 points, grabbed seven boards and blocked five shots. It marked her second five-block performance of the season.
Joining them in double-figures were junior guard Liv Korngable with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and senior forward Taylor Frederick with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Senior guard Madison McKeever finished with nine points on three triples, while junior guard Chloe Lamb recorded seven points and five assists.
Montana (4-4) was led in scoring by senior forward Emma Stockholm’s 12 points. Freshman forward Jamie Pickens joined her in double-figures with 10 points.
South Dakota jumped out to a 13-4 lead behind a pair of made 3-pointers from Sjerven to start the game. It marked the second time of Sjerven’s career where she’s made more than one long ball in a game.
The Coyotes continued to extend the advantage with hot shooting, leading 52-32 at the halftime break behind 10 points apiece from Duffy and Frederick. The Coyotes scored 10 unanswered points early in the third quarter and took a 64-39 advantage into the media timeout.
Although Montana’s Mckenzie Johnston scored a half-courter at the third-quarter buzzer, the Coyotes still entered the final frame up by 30 points. The Coyote bench finished off the game as the Coyotes won 96-64.
Coming off of Wednesday’s school-record performance of shooting 66.2 percent from the field, the Coyotes continued the hot shooting streak. South Dakota finished 38-of-65 (58.5 percent) from the field and 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) from outside the arc. The Grizzlies attempted four fewer 3-pointers than the Coyotes made.
South Dakota also held the edge inside by outscoring Montana 44-26 in the paint.
The Coyotes resume action next Sunday at current No. 5 South Carolina in Columbia. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. central time.