Coyote women record 73-44 win in first round

Coyote women record 73-44 win in first round In her final game at the friendly confines of the DakotaDome, South Dakota senior All-American Mandy Koupal left a lasting impression on the 1,778 in attendance at the DakotaDome.

Koupal recorded another double double with 28 points and 17 rebounds as the No. 15 South Dakota Coyotes (25-6) notched a 73-44 decision over St. Cloud State on Tuesday night in the first round of the Wells Fargo Finals. Koupal hit 10-of-15 field goals and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe to go with four blocks, two steals and two assists. Koupal now has 21 double doubles this season and a school record 56 in her career.

Joining Koupal in double figures was sophomore point guard Meghan Woster (Sioux Falls), who totaled 12 points, nine assists and three rebounds.

Perhaps the real key was the Coyotes was its shooting from the field. After a dismal 36 percent effort in the opening half, the Coyotes knocked down 60.7 percent in the second half on 17-of-28 shooting and outscored the Huskies, 44-18, to win the conference tournament game.

South Dakota won its 10th game in the past 12 games and improved its Wells Fargo Finals mark to 4-3, including a 3-0 mark at home in opening round games in the conference tournament. Overall USD is 3-1 in first round games.

The Coyotes opened up a 13-8 lead at the 11:07 mark of the first half after Jenni Flynn (South Sioux City, NE) scored inside. After St. Cloud State closed the game to 16-15 at the 9:21 mark, the Coyotes went on a 9-2 run to grab a 25-17 lead with 5:27 left in the half. The Huskies drew even at 25-25 with 2:22 to play but the Coyotes closed on a 4-1 run to grab the 29-26 halftime lead.

The second half was all South Dakota. USD opened on an 11-2 run to grab a 40-28 lead with 17:07 left in the game. From that point on, the Coyotes built on their lead. USD led 57-34 with 8:41 to play after a lay-up by Vanessa Yanez (Wagner). A lay-up by Woster with 2:59 gave USD a 70-40 lead. A 3-point field goal by Erica Schroeder (Miller) moved the advantage to 73-42 with 1:42 to play.

Freshman center Erika Quigley led St. Cloud State with 16 points and eight rebounds. Molly Jensen added 10 points.

Overall South Dakota made 49.1 percent from the field, including 26-of-53 from the field. USD was 10-of-22 from 3-point range for 45.5 percent. The Coyotes hit 11-of-12 free throws for 91.7 percent.

The Huskies had trouble from the field, hitting just 15-of-68 shots for 22.1 percent. The visitors made just 1-of-14 three-point field goals for 7.1 percent and made 13-of-20 free throws for 65 percent.

Flynn ended the game with 8 points and seven rebounds as did Erica Schroeder. St. Cloud won the rebounding battle, 45-40.

South Dakota now advances to the semifinal round of the Wells Fargo Finals where the Coyotes will face No. 1 seeded North Dakota State at the Bison Sports Arena on Friday night. Gametime is set for 6 p.m.

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