USD women victorious Friday 71-56 For the eighth straight time this season, the South Dakota women's basketball team (17-8, 11-6 in the NCC) has defeated a North Central Conference opponent at home. And, none was bigger than the 71-56 win over Minnesota State-Mankato (9-17, 4-13 in the NCC) on Friday night before 1,225 in attendance at the DakotaDome.
With the win, the Coyotes retained hold on third place in the NCC with an 11-6 record. If South Dakota defeats St. Cloud State (14-11, 9-8) in the regular season finale on Saturday night and South Dakota State loses to North Dakota, the Coyotes can finish second in the NCC.
The final score was not indicative of how close the game was as South Dakota and MSU played to a 34-34-halftime tie. Once again, the Mavericks rallied, outscoring South Dakota, 7-1, in the final two minutes to draw even at the break.
South Dakota, led by Koupal's nine points, hit 13 of 30 field goals for 43.3 percent, including six of 12 from the three-point line during first half action. Meanwhile, Minnesota State hit 10 of 23 field goals for 43.5 percent, including three of eight from the three-point line. MSU stayed close due to their foul shooting. They hit 11 of 16 for 68.8 percent while USD made just two of six from the charity stripe. The Mavericks were led in scoring by Groom with eight points and seven rebounds. Kris Wolle had six points on a pair of three-point baskets.
Overall, South Dakota hit 23 of 51 field goals for 45.1 percent, including nine of 20 from three-point range. They were 16 of 23 from the foul line, including 14 of 17 in the second half. South Dakota improved its field goal percentage in the second stanza by making 10 of 21 for 47.6 percent.
Koupal had 19 points, six rebounds and two steals to lead the Coyotes. She hit seven of 10 field goals and five of six free throws for 19 points, which moved her into second place on the South Dakota all-time single season scoring chart with 509 points. She is just the fifth USD Coyote women's basketball player to score 500 points in a season. She now needs 13 points to pass Karrie Wallen, who had 521 points in 1983-84, for the best single season point total in school history.
Aside from Koupal, Frie had 13 points, including two of three from three-point range. The two three-point field goals give her 101 on her career, which is fifth on the South Dakota all-time chart and she is the third current member of the South Dakota team with over 100 three-point baskets. Nelson, who hit two three-pointers, now has 104 in her career, which is third all-time. Nelson had eight points, five rebounds and two assists on Friday night. Krista Orsack added 12 points, including four of five three-point baskets. She now has 125 three-point baskets in her career and needs seven to move into second place all-time.
Stacy Schooley had seven points, four assists and three steals to go with a career high 11 rebounds.
South Dakota won the rebound battle, 40-36. MSU hit 15 of 53 field goals for 28.3 percent, including six of 20 from three-point range. They made 20 of 27 free throws for 74.1 percent. Groom had her 12th double double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Wolle also scored 10 points to go with seven rebounds and five steals.