Koupal leads #14 USD to 90-67 win

Koupal leads #14 USD to 90-67 win In perhaps the best single game performance in school history, junior All-American Mandy Koupal had 35 points and 26 rebounds to lead the No. 14 South Dakota women's basketball team (22-3, 12-2) to a 90-67 North Central Conference win over No. 8 North Dakota State (22-5, 10-4) on Feb. 22 before 2,102 at the DakotaDome.

For the third consecutive game, the Coyotes upended a top 10 team and allowed South Dakota to retain a share of first place in the conference. USD won its 19th straight home NCC game. The 12 conference wins ties the most conference wins in school history (2001-02, 12-6 record).

Koupal of Wagner, was a one-person wrecking crew against the Bison as she had her 15th double double. By halftime she had a double double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. On the night Koupal hit 10-of-18 field goals, including three of four from 3-point range. She also made 12-of-16 free throws.

She had eight offensive boards and 18 defensive rebounds to go with three assists and a blocked shot. Her 26 rebounds was a career high, and the second best total in DakotaDome history. She now has 300 rebounds this season which is the second best seasonal total in school history.

Three other Coyotes had double figures, including senior Julia Frie, who had 19 points and five assists. A senior from Byron, MN, Frie had three from 3-point range. Senior forward Heather Nelson, a senior from Yankton, had 16 points and five rebounds and freshman guard Renae Luecke, Sioux Falls, had 12 points on four 3-pointers. Nelson now has 64 3-pointers this season, which is the fourth best seasonal total in school history. Her 172 career 3-pointers are the second best in school history.

Koupal scored the Coyotes' first 12 points, including three straight 3-point baskets, as USD took a 12-5 lead at the 15:19 mark. A jumper by Nelson increased the lead to 23-13 with 9:57 to play in the half. After NDSU cut the lead to 26-22 at the 6:37 mark, USD went on a 15-8 run to grab a 41-30 lead.

NDSU's Lacey Johnson hit a 3-pointer just before halftime to cut the lead to 41-33.

In the opening half, the Coyotes hit eight of 14 from 3-point range for 57.1 percent. The Coyotes were 15-of-33 from the field for 45.5 percent. Aside from Koupal, Frie had 8 points and Nelson scored 7.

NDSU hit 11 of 36 field goals for 30.6 percent. They were three of 10 from 3-point range for 30 percent and eight of 10 from the foul line.

South Dakota opened the second half on an 11-3 run and led by double digits the rest of the game. The run, keyed by Frie's jumper at the 16:57 mark, gave South Dakota a 52-36 lead. NDSU cut the margin to 54-42 at the 15:21 mark but the Coyotes again responded, going on a 15-6 run to grab a 69-48 lead at the 11:33 mark. South Dakota gained their biggest lead at 84-58 with 3:50 to play.

On the night, South Dakota his 32-of-65 field goals for 49.2 percent, including 13-of-27 3-point field goals for 48.1 percent. The Coyotes made 13-of-19 free throws and outrebounded the taller Bison, 47-45.

NDSU was 22-of-75 from the floor for 29.3 percent. They were just four-of-18 from 3-point range. The Bison made 19-of-23 from the free throw line. Angie Froehlich led the Bison with 14 points and Lacey Johnson had 13.

At halftime, South Dakota honored four seniors including Frie, Nelson, Dawn Sudbeck of Dimock, and Amanda Iverson of Vermillion.

Next for South Dakota is a road trip to Augustana on Feb. 28. Then, USD concludes the regular season with a game at Minnesota State, Mankato on March 1. Both games tip-off at 6 p.m.

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