Lady Coyotes roll to 81-56 victory Nov. 25

Lady Coyotes roll to 81-56 victory Nov. 25 South Dakota's women's basketball team, 3-2, received double-figure scoring from five players in an 81-56 win over host Grand Canyon, 0-2, at the Grand Canyon Tournament in Phoenix, AZ, on Nov. 25.

Senior Kelly Koepp and junior Julia Frie each scored 13 points as the Coyotes rebounded from a loss on Friday night to Central Oklahoma (61-56). Also hitting double figures for the Coyotes were freshman Krista Orsack with 12 points, senior point guard Kelly Gese and freshman center Jodi Schroeder with 10 points.

Gese had a season high 11 assists. Alissa Koronkiewicz had her best game of the season by scoring 9 points and grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. Koronkiewicz had five offensive rebounds as the Coyotes had 18 as a team.

South Dakota fell behind early when Grand Canyon jumped to a 7-2 lead, following a 3-pointer by Erin Epley. But, the Coyotes answered with solid offense and strong defense, going on a 13-2 run to take a 15-9 lead at the 11:54 mark of the first half.

South Dakota extended the lead to 22-13 at the 6:18 mark of the opening half when Koepp knocked home a jumper off an assist by Gese. A jumper by sophomore Amanda Iverson gave the Coyotes a 28-15 lead with 4:13 to play in the half. A 3-pointer by Epley closed the Coyote lead to 39-28 at halftime.

The Coyotes shot just 41 percent (16-39) in the first half and made just two of 12 3-point shots, but held a 26-13 rebound advantage. Gese and Iverson had 8 points in the opening half.

A 12-4 run to open the second half gave South Dakota a 51-34 lead with 12:55 to play. LeAnn Rodriques hit a 3-point basket to cut the lead to 56-45 at the 9:57 mark but that was as close as Grand Canyon would get for the remainder of the game.

The Coyotes opened up a 71-49 lead on a pair of free throws by Frie with 4:53 to play. A jumper by Gese, and a pair of free throws and a jumper by Frie moved the Coyote advantage to 81-54 with 34 seconds to play.

Overall, South Dakota made 31-73 field goals for 42.5 percent and hit 14-20 free throws for 70 percent. The Coyotes made five of 19 3-point field goals for 26 percent. Heather Nelson had eight rebounds as South Dakota won the rebound battle, 54-32.

Grand Canyon, who received 16 points from Erin Epley, made just 17-50 field goals for 34 percent and was nine of 19 from the 3-point arc for 47 percent. They made 13-22 free throws for 59 percent.

South Dakota will play Minnesota-Morris at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 in the DakotaDome.

On Friday, Nov. 24, USD struggled offensively in the final minutes of each half and dropped a hard-fought non-conference women's basketball game to Central Oklahoma 61-56 at the Grand Canyon Tournament.

The difference in the game was at the free throw line.

The Broncos (2-1) converted 12 of 16 free throws, including five of six in the final minute, while USD made just one of six attempts in the game. On the night, USD hit 23 of 64 (.360) field goals while Central Oklahoma made 21 of 62 (.340) field goals.

Both teams struggled from 3-point range. USD made just seven of 27 (.260), and the Broncos made seven of 24 (.290).

Frie led the Coyotes with 12 rebounds. Gese scored in double figures with 11 points and had three assists. Koepp added 7 points, five rebounds and five assists while Orsack and Koronkiewicz each scored 6 points. USD had 11 turnovers, five steals and three blocks.

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