Summit League Preview: South Dakota Women at Western Illinois
For the first time in school history, South Dakota will take the floor as a Top 25 Division I team when they hit the road in week eight of the 2019 Summit League regular season.
The #25 Coyotes (22-3/10-1 Summit League) became just the third team in conference history to crack the list of college basketball's elite teams this week after stretching their current win streak to nine games last week.
Their first opponent as a ranked team is Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks (12-13/8-4 Summit League) have won four straight since losing by 43 to USD in Vermillion last month.
WIU has been shooting it at a 56 percent clip over those four games with junior guard Olivia Kaufmann averaging 17 points per game. She's scored 68 points on 65 percent shooting in the last three games.
The Leathernecks rely heavily on their long-range shooting taking the second-most three-point attempts of any team in the Summit League this year. They made 28 threes in a non-conference game against MacMurray back in November.
Senior guard Taylor Higginbotham is fifth in the conference in scoring and seventh in three-point shooting.
Western Illinois is also tough on defense, leading the conference in steals and forcing the most turnovers of any team in the Summit.
Tipoff is 4:30 PM, Saturday (February 16) in Macomb.
South Dakota won the first meeting 92-49.
The Coyotes raced out to 30-point halftime lead (48-18) on the strength of 61 percent shooting in the first half, including 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting from Hannah Sjerven.
The USD defense limited the Leathernecks to just 25 percent from the floor and 3-of-14 from the three-point line in the first half.
South Dakota swept a pair of home games last week starting with a 78-33 win over Omaha Wednesday (February 6).
The Coyotes had a first quarter to remember against the Mavericks, outscoring UNO 29-0. Taylor Frederick was the offensive star for USD in the first ten minutes, scoring ten first quarter points. She finished the game a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor for 14 points.
In all 13 different players saw action for the Coyotes and ten different players scored in the game.
It was the first time in 46 years a USD team had held five straight opponents to under 50 points in a game.
Things were much tougher for South Dakota against Oral Roberts Saturday (February 9) in Vermillion.
The Golden Eagles got the Coyotes out of rhythm early as USD started the game just 1-of-11 from the floor. ORU, the third best three-point shooting team in the nation, drained ten long-range shots in the first half and led by as many as 15.
Down 14 with 6:21 to play in the third, South Dakota began chipping away, closing to within six by the end of the quarter.
In the fourth, the Coyote defense clamped down, holding ORU to just 2-of-17 from the floor while Ciara Duffy went to work on the offensive end of the floor.
When the final buzzer sounded, the junior from Rapid City had scored 16 of her 18 points and USD had a 75-64 win.
Chloe Lamb also played a big part in the victory going 7-of-11 from the floor, including three three-pointers, finishing with 17 points.
I talked with Coyotes head coach Dawn Plitzuweit about last week's wins and the match-up with Western Illinois: