10th-ranked Coyotes upset nation’s number one women’s basketball team

10th-ranked Coyotes upset nation's number one women's basketball team
The University of South Dakota women's basketball team won their 14th consecutive game by upsetting No. 1 ranked North Dakota, 70-67, before a season-high 2,550 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

South Dakota made six free throws in the final minute of play to end one of the nation's longest winning streaks. UND came into the game as one of two teams in DII with a 17-0 record (Concordia St. Paul) and was one of five remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division II.

With the win, South Dakota moved into first place in the NCC with a 2-0 record and also won its sixth straight road game this season.

USD, ranked 10th in NCAA Division II, snapped an eight-game losing streak to North Dakota and won for the first time in Grand Forks since the 2002-03 season. USD's 14-game winning streak is its best since rolling to 14 straight victories in the 2003-04 season. South Dakota's 16-1 start is tied for the best all-time with the 2002-03 team.

Things are going much smoother for the 2007-08 team than was the case a year ago. In 2006-07, USD opened league play 0-2 with close losses to North Dakota and Augustana. In 2007-08, USD has won consecutive NCC games on the road with an overtime victory against Augustana (85-80) and the three-point decision against UND.

Jeana Hoffman (Sr., Mitchell) led all scorers with 20 points by hitting 7-of-14 field goals and 3-of-7 shots from three-point range. Hoffman scored 20 points or more for the eighth time this season and has reached double digits in points for the 47th time in her career.

Point guard Jenna Hoffman (Sr., Mitchell) added 16 points with five rebounds and five assists. The Coyotes also received 10 points and six rebounds from Bridget Yoerger (Jr., Hinton, IA), who reached double figures in scoring for the 51st time in her career.

Overall, the Coyotes made 23-of-56 field goals for 41.1 percent, including 8-of-20 shots for 40 percent from three-point range. In addition, USD made 16-of-23 free throws for 69.6 percent.

North Dakota, which was led by Kierah Kimbrough with 18 points and 15 rebounds, made 45.8 percent from the field on 27-of-59 from the field. They were also 2-of-11 from three-point range for 18.2 percent and 11-of-14 from the foul line for 78.6 percent. UND also received 16 points and 17 rebounds from Ashley Langen.

South Dakota jumped out quickly on UND by scoring the first five points of the game, including a three-point basket by Ashley Robinette (Sr., South Sioux City, NE). UND responded with a 12-4 run to take the lead. Down 12-9, the Coyotes scored nine straight points for an 18-12 lead at the 10:34 mark. A lay-up by Jenna Hoffman helped USD to a 25-17 lead with 5:48 left in the half. The Coyotes extended the lead to 27-20 at the 3:43 mark. North Dakota closed the half on a 8-4 run to draw within 31-28.

Early in the second half, the Coyotes built a 40-35 lead after Robinette converted a pair of free throws at the 16:40 mark. UND fought back to take a 48-45 lead with 11:20 to play following a jumper by Kimbrough. UND's largest lead was 50-46 at the 10:48 mark.

Keyed by a three-pointer by Robinette, USD rallied with a 12-3 run to lead 58-53 with 5:24 to play in the game. North Dakota tied the game at 60-60 when Kimbrough made a pair of free throws. Once again, USD responded with a 10-7 run to close the game. The Coyotes the lead for good on a lay-up by Jeana Hoffman with two minutes to play (64-63). From that point, USD made six straight free throws in the final two minutes and held off North Dakota.

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