16th-ranked USD women fall short

16th-ranked USD women fall short
Two shots in the final seconds fell short as the 16th-ranked South Dakota Women's Basketball Team (18-5, 4-4 NCC) dropped a tightly contested 72-71 decision to St. Cloud State (17-8, 5-5 NCC) in North Central Conference action on Saturday night before 2,548 at the DakotaDome.

St. Cloud State won its fourth straight league game and snapped USD's four-game winning streak, which included three straight league wins. The Coyotes are 4-4 in the NCC with all four losses by five points or less. In fact three of the losses have come at home by two points or less. Despite the loss, the Coyotes retained third place in the league by percentage points over St. Cloud State.

Jeana Hoffman, a junior guard from Mitchell, led South Dakota with 22 points, including six of 14 from three-point range. Hoffman surpassed the 20-point mark for the second straight game and fifth time this season. She also had five rebounds, four assists and a steal in 38 minutes of work. Complimenting Hoffman was sophomore forward Bridget Yoerger (Hinton, IA) who had her fifth career double double with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Yoerger, who reached double digits for the 19th time this season and 37th time in her career, made 10 of 20 field goals. Shannon Daly, a senior point guard from Groton had 15 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Senior All-American Erika Quigley led the Huskies with 30 points and 17 rebounds as St. Cloud State had a 49-35 rebound advantage. Kayla Rengel also scored in double digits for SCSU with 10 points while Jackie Carlson had 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Coyotes hit 27-of-70 field goals for 38.6 percent, including nine of 30 from three-point range for 30 percent. USD was eight of 10 from the foul line. Meanwhile, SCSU hit 27-of-64 field goals for 42.2 percent, including 3-of-8 from three-point range. The Huskies made 15-of-20 from the foul line for 75 percent.

In the game, the two teams exchanged the lead 13 times with nine tied scores. The largest lead of the game was by USD's six point advantage in the first half (19-13, 11:21).

Jeana Hoffman's three-point field goal at the 15:31 mark gave USD an early 12-9 advantage in the opening half. Then after SCSU briefly took a one-point lead, USD opened up a 19-13 advantage when Jasmine Mosley (freshman, Bellevue, NE) scored inside with 11:21 left in the first half. SCSU reversed the trend as the Huskies went on an 8-0 run to grab a 21-19 lead at the 8:54 mark after Carlson made 1-of-2 free throws. USD rebounded with an 11-3 run for a 30-24 advantage at the 6:27 mark after Daly converted a three-point play (lay-up and foul shot). Then, it was SCSU's turn for a run, using a 12-3 run to close out the half for a 36-33 advantage. In the opening half, SCSU consistently used its inside game to stay close and later build a lead. The Huskies had a 24-10 advantage in points in the paint. Quigley led SCSU with 15 first half points while Daly had 11 and Hoffman had 10 for the Coyotes.

USD quickly tied the score in the second half as Yoerger scored seven straight points to open the half. First, she scored inside and converted the free throw after being fouled on the play at the 19:46 mark. Then, she had consecutive inside baskets to built USD's lead to 40-36 at the 17:49 mark. Later, Jeana Hoffman connected from downtown as the Coyotes built a 46-40 lead at the 14:50 mark. Once again, SCSU fought back, using a 9-0 run to take a 49-46 lead after a jumper by Rengel with 12:27 to play in the game. From there, the teams began trading baskets. A three-point shot by Hoffman cut SCSU's lead to 58-57 at the 8:33 mark. USD was able to tie the game at 64-64 when Hoffman again connected from three-point range at the 4:38 mark. Then, USD took a 68-66 lead with 3:32 to play as Yoerger scored inside. Hoffman's three-pointer with 2:06 to play provided the Coyotes with its final lead at 71-69. However, Quigley had the answer by giving SCSU a 72-71 lead after converting a three-point play on a basket and foul shot with 1:43 to play.

While neither team scored in the final 1:43 of the game, the Coyotes had a chance to win after taking control of the ball with 21 seconds to play. USD used a timeout with 11 seconds on the clock and set up a play for Daly whose shot was blocked by Quigley. The blocked shot bounced to Jeana Hoffman whose shot from the foul line was also blocked by the SCSU center.

The Coyotes will next be in action on Thursday, Feb. 15, when they travel to Grand Forks, ND to take on North Dakota starting at 8 p.m. in the Betty Engelstad Center.

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