Koupal leads USD Coyotes to 70-66 win over Northern

Koupal leads USD Coyotes to 70-66 win over Northern Led by a double double by Mandy Koupal, the No. 3 South Dakota women's basketball team (3-1) picked up a 70-66 win over Northern State (0-1) Friday night before 1,809 in attendance at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

Koupal had 19 points and 14 rebounds and also contributed three assists, two blocks and a steal as the Coyotes won its home season opener.

Koupal had her third straight double double and now has 38 in her career.

USD Freshman guard Jenni Flynn had 15 points, making 5-of-7 3-point field goals as the Coyotes made 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from 3-point distance as a team. Junior forward Kayla Jacobs added 10 points. Senior guard Stacy Schooley had 7 points, five rebounds and five assists while senior guard Erin Bourne had 9 points.

South Dakota struggled from the field, converting just 36.7 percent (22-of-60) of their field goals. South Dakota made 80 percent (12-15) from the foul line, including 10-of-13 in the second half.

Meanwhile, Northern State received 13 points from Michelle Hanson and 10 points from Sara Jensen. The Wolves hit 42.3 percent (22-of-52) from the field and hit 36.4 percent (4-of-11) from 3-point range. NSU made 78.3 percent (18-of-23) from the foul line.

The Wolves battled the nationally ranked Coyotes throughout the game, nearly staging an upset. South Dakota jumped to a 10-3 lead at the 16:09 mark of the first after Jacobs knocked down a 3-pointer. NSU responded with an 8-0 run to grab an 11-10 lead at the 11:30 mark. The Wolves upped its advantage to 33-26 with 1:28 to play in the half. Then, the Coyotes closed the half on a 9-2 run with 3-pointers by Bourne with 28 seconds left and another by Koupal with 10 seconds on the clock to bring South Dakota even with Northern State at 35.

Like the first half, USD built a double-digit second half lead only to see Northern State fight back. South Dakota opened up a 50-40 lead after Flynn hit back-to-back 3-pointers at the 11:55 mark. NSU answered with a 3-pointer by Liza Sizer to draw within 50-46 at the 10:55 mark.

The Coyotes again built a 10-point lead at the 4:32 mark (65-55) as Schooley connected from 3-point range. Once again the Wolves answered. Another three-pointer by Sizer drew NSU within 66-64 at the 1:03 mark. After Schooley made two free throws for a 68-64 lead with 49 seconds to play, NSU cut the lead to two on two free throws by Ali Chmielewski with 33 seconds left in the game. On the ensuing possession, Flynn was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one but Koupal grabbed the rebound and was promptly fouled. The senior All-American then calmly sank two straight free throws to ice the game with two seconds on the clock.

On Saturday for the final game of the Coyote Women's Basketball Classic, the Coyotes were led by Koupal to a 61-49 nonconference win over Wayne State.

Koupal had 22 points and 18 rebounds forSouth Dakota, which improved to 4-1.

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