Coyote women win sixth straight game; North Dakota falls

Coyote women win sixth straight game; North Dakota falls There seems to be something about the DakotaDome that stirs the South Dakota women's basketball team. Senior All-American Mandy Koupal's 29 points spurred the No. 16 South Dakota Coyotes (23-5, 8-4 NCC) women's basketball team to a 74-61 North Central Conference decision over seventh-ranked North Dakota (20-5, 8-4 NCC) before 2,907 at the DakotaDome.

With the win, USD improved to 11-1 on the season at the DakotaDome. USD, which now has a six-game winning streak, defeated UND at the DakotaDome for the fourth straight season.

Koupal hit 9-of-15 shots, including her only 3-point field goal attempt and had 29 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and four steals in leading the Coyotes to the key NCC win. Koupal again made hay at the foul line, converting 10-of-13 free throws. Over the weekend, Koupal had 62 points and 25 rebounds as USD swept two top 10 teams and the Coyotes pulled into a third place tie in the NCC race.

As her regular season career at USD winds down, Koupal continues to reach significant milestones. With her point total tonight, she reached the 2,000 point plateau at South Dakota and has 2,372 points overall in her stellar career. Koupal has 2,018 points at South Dakota.

USD grabbed control of the game early with a 9-0 run (18:06), sparked by an Erin Bourne (Sauk Rapids, MN) 3-pointer and two baskets by sophomore point guard Meghan Woster (Sioux Falls).

After two UND baskets, the Coyotes went on a 10-0 run as Woster's basket at 12:46 gave USD a 19-4 lead.

UND fought back with a 17-7 run to close the gap to 26-21 at the 5:24 mark after a basket by Chelsea Hausauer. Later, UND guard Mary Perrizo stole the ball and scored to cut the deficit to 31-29 at the 1:37 mark. However, freshman guard Jenni Flynn (South Sioux City, NE) hit a 3-point basket and two foul shots by Koupal provided USD with a 36-31 lead at halftime.

UND drew even at 40-40 at the 15:12 mark of the second half as guard Amy Mahlum hit a 3-pointer. Koupal answered for South Dakota with five straight points as USD led 45-42. Then the Coyotes took off on a 12-4 run to take a 57-44 lead and were never headed thereafter. UND cut the lead to 61-54 at the 3:48 mark but a a 3-pointer by junior forward Kayla Jacobs (Watertown.) moved the advantage back to 10 points (64-54) and the Coyotes built its lead to 14 points with 2:51 to play.

Overall, South Dakota shot well from the field. The Coyotes hit 50 percent (21-of-42) from the field, including 7-of-15 for 46.7 percent from 3-point range. USD was 25-of-31 for 80.6 percent from the foul line.

Joining Koupal in double figures were Woster and Bourne. Woster had 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. Bourne added 12 points, including conversions on all three of her 3-point baskets. Flynn had 9 points, three steals and three assists.

North Dakota hit just 36.9 percent from the field on 24-of-65 shooting. UND was just 5-of-18 from 3-point range and 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) from the charity stripe.

Forward Marisa Leighton led UND with 23 points while Perrizo had 14 points. UND center Cara Demaine had a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. UND won the rebound battle, 42-25.

Next for South Dakota is a pair of home games with Augustana and NCC leader South Dakota State on Feb. 27-28. Those games will close out the regular season.

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