USD women fall 66-61

USD women fall 66-61 Despite 31 points and 16 rebounds from Mandy Koupal, the 12th-ranked South Dakota Coyotes women's basketball team (17-5, 2-4 NCC) dropped a 66-61 North Central Conference decision to St. Cloud State (14-5, 4-2 NCC) on Saturday night at the DakotaDome.

The loss snapped USD's 18-game home winning streak and ended the Coyotes' eight-game run at home in 2003-04.

Koupal, a senior from Wagner, helped USD comeback from several deficits, including a 13-point margin in the second half but the Huskies converted down the stretch to gain the win, its first at South Dakota since a 71-68 decision in 1999-00. Koupal connected on 13-of-25 field goals, including 4-of-6 from the charity stripe. She had three assists, a block and a steal in 38 minutes of action.

One night ago, USD hit 57.1 percent from the field, but the Coyotes fought through some rough shooting Saturday. USD hit just 41.4 percent from the field (24-of-58). The Coyotes were solid from 3-point distance, connecting on 8-of-20 3-point field goals, including three bombs from Kayla Jacobs (Watertown), who was the only other Coyote than Koupal in double figures. Jacobs had 11 points.

The Coyotes shot just 35.5 percent from the field in the first half which ended with both teams tied at 27.

Early on, the Coyotes grabbed a 10-4 lead after a basket by Stacy Schooley (14:47). After USD led 15-10 with 11:15 to play, St. Cloud rallied to take the lead. Over the next eight minutes, they outscored the Coyotes, 25-10, grabbing a 25-18 lead with 3:25 to play. A 3-point basket by Vanessa Yanez (Wagner) evened the score at 27 as USD ended the half on a 9-2 run. Koupal and St. Cloud's Erika Quigley both had double doubles by halftime. Koupal had 11 points and 12 rebounds while Quigley had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Huskies came out firing in the second half, opening a 44-31 lead at the 14:40 mark following a jumper by Jessica Abrahams. USD responded with a 19-8 run to tie the game at 50 on a lay-up by Koupal with 8:02 to play. From that point, the lead changed four times before a basket by Quigley gave the Huskies a 62-59 lead with 1:28 to play. Koupal hit a jumper on the Coyotes' next possession (1:08) to draw USD within 62-61. However, Katie Huschle scored on a jumper and hit two free throws to give St. Cloud a 66-61 win.

Quigley, one of the NCC's top freshmen, had 27 points and 14 rebounds. She hit 13-of-19 from the field. Huschle also hit double figures with 12 points.

St. Cloud made 28-of-64 field goals for 43.8 percent, including 3-of-14 for 21.4 percent from 3-point range. The Huskies made 7-of-9 free throws for 77.8 percent.

USD, which made 5-of-7 free throws, was outrebounded, 42-28.

Next for South Dakota is a home date on Saturday, Jan. 31 vs. Nebraska-Omaha. Gametime is set for 6 p.m.

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