USD women defeat Northern State 79-53 What a difference a night has made for The University of South Dakota women's basketball team.
In a loss to Wayne State (74-58) Friday night, the Coyotes struggled in the first half and couldn't recover from a large first-half deficit.
Saturday night, the Coyotes (1-1) reversed the order of things, delivering the knockout punch in the first half by jumping to a 38-22 lead and rolling to a 79-53 non-conference win over host Northern State at the Tri-State Classic.
The Coyotes took control of the game from the start, as sophomore forward Julia Frie scored 12 of the team's first 7 points. Frie's effort helped the Coyotes gain a 17-8 lead at the 13:29 mark of the first half. Then another Frie jumper at the 8:03 mark gave the Coyotes a 27-12 advantage, as USD played solid defense, rebounded the ball and sustained offensive pressure.
In the opening half, Northern State (0-2) was not able to sustain any offense as the Coyotes opened up a 36-13 lead with 4:30 to play. The Wolves scored the final 6 points of the first half but still trailed 38-22.
The Coyotes, who dropped a close 75-71 decision to Northern State a year ago, struggled from the field (13-of-34) in the opening half, but hit nine of 12 free throws.
The Coyotes were aggressive defensively as the held the Wolves at bay offensively. Northern State hit just seven of 34 (.210) shots.
Like the first half, the Coyotes came out aggressive on both ends of the court as they built on a their lead during the final 20 minutes of play. Sophomore Heather Nelson knocked down a 3-pointer for a 41-22 lead at the 18:40 mark.
Then, a foul-shot by senior Kelly Koepp, lay-up by Frie and a jumper by senior Kelly Gese gave the Coyotes a 48-24 lead. Another 3-pointer by Nelson supplied USD with a 54-26 lead at the 11:26 mark of the second half, as the Coyotes were never threatened.
USD gained a 63-33 lead at the 8:19 mark when Nicole Jaycox knocked home a 3-point basket. From that point on, the Wolves held a 17-13 margin, but it was too little, too late.
In the second half, the Coyotes improved their shooting by hitting 14 o 28 shots for 50 percent and hit five of 12 3-point baskets for 42 percent. On the night, the Coyotes made 27 of 62 field goals (.435), eight of 27 three point shots (.296) and a sizzling 17-of-20 free throws.
Frie led the Coyotes with 20 points and six rebounds. Koepp and Nelson, who had six rebounds, each added 14 points, while Gese had 8 points and nine assists.
Sophomore Amanda Iverson and freshman Katie Pulford added 6 points. USD out-rebounded Northern State 48-40, had eight steals, four blocks and committed just 10 turnovers.
Holly Schaunaman led the Wolves with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Memory Johannsen had 10 points and seven boards.
Poor shooting from the field was devastating for Northern State, who was just 16-of-62 from the field for 26 percent and hit just one of 13 3-point shots. The Wolves made 20 of 28 free throws for 72 percent.