U of Sioux Falls drops 55-51 to South Dakota

U of Sioux Falls drops 55-51 to South Dakota South Dakota women's basketball team (14-10, 8-8 in the NCC) won their sixth straight game by overcoming a 9-point half-time deficit to defeat the University of Sioux Falls (14-15), 55-51, in nonconference basketball Feb. 18 at the DakotaDome.

Sioux Falls opened the game with a lay-up from Kassy Hegge, which began a 12-3 run by the Cougars. A lay-up by Amanda Spronk gave Sioux Falls the 12-3 lead.

South Dakota's senior guard Kelly Koepp scored two field goals, senior guard Kelly Gese made a pair of foul shots and sophomore Heather Nelson had a 3-point basket to draw the Coyotes to 13-12. However, the Coyotes managed just 6 points the rest of the half as the Cougars grabbed a 27-18 lead at the break.

In the final seven minutes, the Cougars outscored the Coyotes 14-6. A key play for Sioux Falls was a 3-point basket by Diana Grandgeorge with 1:25 to play in the half.

Gese and Koepp both had 6 points for the Coyotes, who also lost the first half rebound battle, 28-20, to Sioux Falls. The Coyotes had just two assists and their second lowest halftime output (18 points) of the season.

While the Coyotes hit just 17.2 percent of their first half shots, Sioux Falls made just 11 of 32 field goals for 34.4 percent, including two of six from 3-point range. They hit three of four free throws.

Early in the second half, Sioux Falls grabbed their biggest lead of the game at 34-20. They outscored the Coyotes 7-2 in the opening four minutes of the half as Spronk had two field goals and Hegge scored inside and tallied a free throw for the Cougars.

After that, the Coyotes began their rally. South Dakota outscored Sioux Falls 15-2 over the next six minutes to pull within 36-35. Sioux Falls quickly regained a 5-point margin (40-35) on two free throws by Jill Austin and a lay-up by Spronk. The Coyotes answered with a 13-4 run to grab a 48-44 lead. Koepp had 7 points during that run, including a 3-point basket.

South Dakota's Krista Orsack hit a 3-pointer as the Coyotes opened up their biggest lead of the game at 51-45. Sioux Falls scored 4 straight points on a field goal and two free throws by Spronk to pull within 51-49. With 58 seconds left, sophomore Amanda Iverson hit a pair of free throws to give the Coyotes a 53-49 lead. Then the Cougars' Spronk hit a jumper to again draw the visitors within 2 points at 53-51 with 17 seconds to play.

After a turnover by the Coyotes, Sioux Falls was unable to convert on the offensive end and Koepp was fouled, converting both foul shots for the final margin of victory.

In the second half the Coyotes knocked down 13 of 26 field goals for 50 percent, although they made just two of eight 3-point shots. They were nine of 11 from the charity stripe. Overall the Coyotes hit 18 of 55 field goals for 32.7 percent and made 15 of 19 free throws for 78.9 percent.

Koepp had 17 points, four rebounds and two steals to lead South Dakota. Gese had 14 points and four assists while Nelson had 8 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Orsack had five steals for the Coyotes, who totaled a season-high 13 for the game.

Sioux Falls hit 18 of 56 field goals for 32.1 percent, including just two of nine 3-point field goals. They hit 13 of 18 free throws for 72.2 percent. Spronk led the Cougars with 19 points while Grandgeorge added 14. points, including a pair of 3-point field goals. The Cougars won the rebound battle, 44-38.

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