Morningside falls to Coyote women, USD keeps share of lead in the NCC

Morningside falls to Coyote women, USD keeps share of lead in the NCC The South Dakota Coyotes women's basketball (12-5, 6-3 in the NCC) team retained a share of the North Central Conference lead by rolling to a 71-48 win over Morningside at Allee Gym in Sioux City, IA Saturday, Jan. 19.

The Coyotes, behind stellar shooting from Krista Orsack, broke from a close game at halftime by outscoring the homestanding Mustangs, 39-22 in the second half. It was the Coyotes' sixth conference win in nine starts. South Dakota is tied with North Dakota, North Dakota State and South Dakota State on top of the NCC at the halfway point in the conference season.

Orsack led South Dakota with 17 points, including five three-pointers. Sophomore forward Mandy Koupal, who had just four points and three rebounds in the first half, ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season.

After struggling offensively in the first half, the Coyotes opened the second half on a 30-12 run which included an 18-0 spurt midway through the half. South Dakota made just two of 15 three-point shots in the opening half but that changed in the second stanza.

Orsack, who had just five points in the first half, had four three-pointers in the second half. Heather Nelson also had another strong performance with 13 points. It was Nelson's third straight double figure scoring game.

Junior forward Julia Frie added nine points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Stacy Schooley had seven rebounds, four points, three assists, a blocked shot and a steal.

South Dakota grabbed an early lead and maintained an advantage throughout the first half. The Coyotes had a 32-22 near the end of the first half, but Morningside closed the half on a 4-0 run as Mindy Durant scored with 20 seconds to play and Erica Thein hit a pair of free throws with five second left in the half.

South Dakota made 14 of 33 field goals for 42.4 percent but were just two of 15 from the three-point line for 13.3 percent. The Coyotes made both of their free throws. Nelson had eight points and Frie scored seven to lead South Dakota. Meanwhile the Mustangs hit nine of 23 field goals for 39.1 percent and they were just one of five from the three-point line for 20 percent. They made seven of 10 free throws for 70 percent. Carper had eight points to lead the Mustangs.

Early in the second half, Morningside's Katie Lokken hit a jumper to cut the USD lead to 32-28. After that, Orsack took over and answered every charge by Morningside with a three-pointer. She hit four of five three-pointers in the second half and her three pointer at 16:58 provided the Coyotes with a 41-33 lead.

At the 14:12 mark, Nelson hit a driving lay-up and with the free throw gave the Coyotes a 47-38 lead. South Dakota never looked back. Koupal hit on a driving score at the 12:34 mark as USD led 52-38. One minute later, sophomore guard Dawn Sudbeck hit a three-point goal off a feed from Koupal for a 55-38 advantage. When Orsack sank her fourth three-pointer of the half, USD had a 60-38 lead with 9:18 to play. After Koupal's inside score at the 8:35 mark, the Coyotes led 62-38. Her basket was part of an 18-0 run by South Dakota and a 30-12 advantage since the start of the half.

Morningside finally broke a seven-minute scoring drought with a basket at the 7:20 mark.

South Dakota extended the lead to 69-44 at the 3:22 mark when Frie hit a pair of free throws.

Overall the Coyotes were 27 of 60 from the field for 45 percent, including seven of 23 from the three-point line. The Coyotes made five of eight three-pointers in the second half for 62.5 percent. Overall USD was 10 of 15 from the free throw line.

Morningside was 18 of 52 from the field for 34.6 percent, but just nine of 29 from the field. for 31 percent in the second half. The Mustangs hit just three of 15 three-pointers for 16.7 percent and they hit nine of 12 free throws for 75 percent.

South Dakota will travel to South Dakota State and Augustana on Friday and Saturday. Both games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The Coyotes face SDSU on Friday in a matchup of two teams tied for first place in the NCC.

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