Likely cast of players leads the Coyote women past UNO

Likely cast of players leads the Coyote women past UNO
Led by 16 points from both Shannon Daly and Bridget Yoerger, the 16th-ranked South Dakota Women's Basketball Team (17-4, 3-3 NCC) picked up a 68-59 North Central Conference win over Nebraska-Omaha (14-7, 2-5 NCC) before 2,112 at the DakotaDome on Saturday night.

With the win, USD swept the season series from UNO as the Coyotes won in Omaha, NE, on Feb. 3 by a 70-55 score. South Dakota won its third straight game and picked up its fourth win in the past five games. USD improved to 17-4 on the season and evened its NCC record at 3-3. After two heartbreaking losses to open the NCC season at home (Augustana, ND), USD recorded its first league home win of the season. South Dakota won its ninth game in 11 home decisions this season.

Daly and Yoerger helped the Coyotes forge a 28-20 halftime lead and the home-standing Coyotes withstood UNO, 40-39, in the second half.

Daly, a junior from Groton, had 16 points, six assists, three steals and four rebounds in a solid all-around game. She hit 5-of-10 field goals, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and 4-of-5 from the foul stripe. Yoerger, a sophomore from Hinton, IA, finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. Yoerger reached double figures for a team-high 16th time in 2006-07 and now has 35 in her career. Daly and Yoerger were joined in double figures by junior forward Ashley Robinette of South Sioux City, IA, who had 11 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. She reached double digits in scoring for the 37th time of her career. USD also received a solid effort from Jenna Hoffman (Mitchell), who had seven points, eight rebounds and two steals.

Overall, South Dakota hit 24-of-56 shots from the field for 42.9 percent, including 8-of-21 from the three-point arc. USD, the league's top free-throw shooting team, made 12-of-15 free throws for 80 percent.

Nebraska-Omaha, which saw its two-game NCC win streak snapped, was led by guard Karen Thies, who had 15 points, eight rebounds, four steals and made 3-of-3 shots from three-point range. Cayla Hargrove added 13 points and eight rebounds. UNO converted 22-of-53 shots from the field for 41.5 percent, including 9-of-19 from three-point range for 47.4 percent. UNO was just 6-of-12 from the foul line for 50 percent.

UNO opened quickly with a 9-4 lead at the 13:01 mark of the first half after Hargrove hit a basket. Then, USD woke up from its offensive slumber with a 12-0 run that provided USD with a 16-9 advantage at the 9:01 mark of the opening half when Jenna Hoffman hit a jump shot. The Coyotes built the margin to 24-14 when Ashley Bjorkman (Vermillion) hit a three-point shot at the 3:11 mark. USD's lead was 28-16 when Robinette knocked down a jumper at the 1:39 mark of the first half. UNO finished the half on a 4-0 run to cut the margin to 28-20 at the break.

The Coyotes surged to a 38-26 lead at the 16:34 mark of the second half when Robinette connected from three-point distance at the 16:34 mark. UNO answered by going on a 10-4 run to cut the deficit to 42-36 at the 10:52 mark of the second half. Each time UNO made a run, the Coyotes seemingly had an answer. Bjorkman hit her second three-pointer of the game at the 10:01 mark for a 47-36 advantage. However, UNO scored four straight points to draw within 47-40 at the 9:40 mark on a three-point field goal by Ellen Majewski.

USD worked the lead back to double digits on the strength of Yoerger's strong inside play. Yoerger had a lay-up at the 6:18 mark for a 56-46 lead. Daly's three-point shot at the 4:43 mark of the second half provided USD with a 62-49 advantage. UNO fought back to 62-56 when Ashley Freerksen hit a jumper at the 3:09 mark of the half. Both Yoerger (2:39) and Robinette (1:29) hit a pair of throws to build the lead to 66-56. Then, Daly put the game on ice by hitting a basket with just 48 seconds to play.

Key to the Coyotes' success was points off turnovers in which USD held a 27-12 advantage. The Coyotes forced UNO into 17 turnovers while committing just 12. USD also owned a 22-18 advantage on points in the paint.

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