USD women win 17th game with victory over UNO

USD women win 17th game with victory over UNO Led by Heather Nelson's 18 points, the No. 17 University of South Dakota women's basketball team won their 17th game and seventh conference game with a 67-57 win over Nebraska-Omaha (10-11, 3-7) on Thursday night, Feb. 6., at the DakotaDome.

For USD (17-3, 7-2), it was their 10th win in 11 home games this season and their fourth straight home NCC win. Dating back to last year, the Coyotes have won 23 of their last 25 home games. USD has a 197-116 (.629) record since the DakotaDome was opened in 1979.

Nelson, a senior from Yankton, led South Dakota with 18 points, hitting six of 11 field goals and tying a season high with five 3-point baskets (seven attempts). Junior forward Mandy Koupal recorded her NCC-leading 11th double double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. She also had two blocks which gives her 53 in her career which is fifth best in school history. She now has 494 career rebounds.

With both teams turning the ball over and having troubles shooting, it was USD's defense that made the difference. For the seventh time this season, USD held an opponent to less than 50 points. The Coyotes have limited opponents to fewer than 60 points in 11 games, all wins.

Nelson hit three 3-pointers and scored 12 of the first 15 South Dakota points as USD led, 15-10, with 10 minutes to play in the half. Junior point guard Stacy Schooley, Watertown, had five assists during that opening charge. From that point on, USD outscored the visiting Mavs, 21-6, to take a 36-16 halftime lead.

Overall, the Coyotes hit 13 of 32 field goals for 40.6 percent, and also converted five of 12 3-point shots for 41.7 percent in the opening half. The Coyotes hit five of eight free throws.

UNO's downfall in the opening 20 minutes was shooting, as they made just 20 percent of their field goals on six of 30 shooting. The Mavs hit just two of nine from the 3-point line and two of four from the foul line.

In the second half, USD maintained a double-digit lead throughout as UNO could not get any closer than 13 points. A 3-pointer by Kara Paul of UNO cut the Coyotes' lead to 40-27 at the 16:25 mark.

The Coyotes answered with a 14-5 run to take a 54-32 lead with 10:22 to play when Nelson hit a 3-pointer. UNO cut the lead to 54-38 at the 6:34 mark but USD again answered with a 9-4 run to gain a 63-42 lead with 3:53 to play.

Overall, USD hit 22 of 57 field goals for 38.6 percent, including nine of 20 from 3-point range and 14 of 20 from the free throw line. UNO made 16 of 58 field goals for 27.6 percent, including five of 17 from 3-point range and 10 of 14 free throws.

For South Dakota, Schooley had 8 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in a solid all-around performance. Junior guard Erin Bourne, Mankato, MN, had 7 points.

UNO was led by Sara Peterson with 17 points.

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