USD women’s basketball squad defeats 22nd-ranked Nebraska-Kearney 84-51

USD women's basketball squad defeats 22nd-ranked Nebraska-Kearney 84-51
Led by Bridget Yoerger's second straight and eighth career double-double, The University of South Dakota women's basketball team won its third straight game with an 84-51 win over 22nd-ranked Nebraska-Kearney in nonconference action on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 1, at the DakotaDome.

The Coyotes improved to 5-1 on the season and defeated a previously unbeaten opponent for the second straight game. Nebraska-Kearney dropped to 4-1 on the season. South Dakota broke a three-game losing streak against UNK and reversed a 73-45 loss to the Lopers in Kearney, NE, in 2006-07.

Yoerger, a junior forward from Hinton, IA, had 20 points and 10 rebounds against UNK. Yoerger, who scored the opening six points of the game for USD, hit 9-of-14 field goals and made two free throws. Yoerger recorded her fifth straight double-digit scoring game of the season and now has 45 in her career.

Senior shooting guard Jeana Hoffman (Mitchell) recorded 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. Hoffman hit 3-of-7 from three-point range. She has made three or more three-pointers in all six games this season. In addition, Hoffman had her sixth straight double-digit scoring game this season and the 39th of her career. USD's Jenna Hoffman (Mitchell) had seven points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Key to the Coyotes' win was the defensive pressure it applied against the Lopers. USD forced UNK into 20 turnovers, recorded a season-high 12 steals and limited the Lopers to 32.7 percent shooting (17-of-52) from the field.

On offense, the Coyotes had a season-best 50 percent field goal shooting percentage by making 29-of-58 field goals. However, the Coyotes converted just 5-of-19 from three-point range. USD tied a season-high with 21 free throws on 27 attempts for 77.8 percent. UNK, which was led by Melissa Hinkley's 27 points, made 13-of-18 free throws for 72.2 percent.

USD also received solid contributions from its bench, including nine points from freshman Amber Hegge (Crofton, NE). The Coyotes' bench outscored UNK by a 22-2 margin.

Two field goals and a pair of free throws by Yoerger provided USD with a 6-0 lead just 2:05 into the game. Leading 13-7, the Coyotes had a 13-0 run to grab a 26-7 lead (9:51, first half) after Jenna Hoffman converted a three-point play on a drive to the basket. The Lopers scored the next four points to cut USD's lead to 26-14 but that was as close as UNK would get for the rest of the game.

Jeana Hoffman's first three-point basket of the game provided USD with a 31-14 lead at the 4:53 mark of the first half. USD built the lead to 36-14 on a three-point play by Jeana Hoffman on a drive to the basket with 3:10 left in the first half. The Coyotes took a 38-19 lead into the halftime break.

In the first 20 minutes of play, USD outscored UNK 16-2 in the paint, and had a commanding 17-6 advantage in points off turnovers. Yoerger had 14 points and Jeana Hoffman had 10 points for USD, which hit 44.8 percent from the field in the opening half. Meanwhile, UNK made just 4-of-23 field goals. The Lopers were led by Hinkley's 11 first-half points.

Early in the second half, both teams traded baskets as the Coyotes maintained a 20-point lead over UNK. With USD leading 57-35, the Coyotes had a 7-0 run to build a 64-35 lead at the 8:11 mark of the second half.

Shannon Daly (Groton), who scored nine points and dished out five assists, hit a free throw at the 6:15 mark of the second half and provided USD with a 32-point lead at 69-37. After two free throws by Kara Iverson (Yankton), the Coyotes had its biggest lead of the game at 83-46 with just 1:27 to play in the game.

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