USD Coyote women survive 3-point shooting barrage to win in double OT

USD Coyote women survive 3-point shooting barrage to win in double OT
The University of South Dakota women's basketball team can credit much of its success this year to its mastery of the three-pointer.

During the Coyotes' first game in the NCAA Elite Eight Basketball Tournament in Kearney, NE, March 26, USD received a strong dose of its own medicine.

At times, it appeared that the Washburn Lady Blues were dishing out more than the Coyotes could take.


One player in particular � Washburn's Corkey Stiger � seemed to only get better as the intensity on the basketball court grew.

Stiger hit a three-pointer with only 16 ticks on the clock in regulation to send the game into overtime, knotted in a 63-63 tie score.

In overtime, every time the Coyotes would begin to pull away, Stiger would strike from the arc.

She hit a three-pointer with 2:46 left in the first overtime period, erasing a USD lead to tie the score.

With just under two minutes left to play, the Coyotes again built a three point lead, only to watch Stiger drain another three-pointer.

The Coyotes made one last attempt to seal the win. Bridget Yoerger made a layup with 49 seconds left in OT, and followed it with a free throw to give the Coyotes another three point lead.

This time, Washburn's Jessica Mainz took the lead away, sinking a three-pointer with 28 seconds left that would lead to a second overtime period.

In the second overtime period, both teams were showing signs of exhaustion.

The first two minutes of play were dominated by missed shots and turnovers.

With 2:27 left on the clock, South Dakota was the first to score, thanks to a layup by Yoerger. The Coyotes' two point lead was erased by two free throws from Washburn's Amanda Holmes.

But in the last two minutes of the second OT period, the Coyotes pulled away for good, thanks to layups from Shannon Daly and Jeana Hoffman.

Daly and Jeana Hoffman also each sank two free throws shortly before time expired.

Jenna Hoffman sealed the 85-80 win over Washburn by sinking two free throws in the period's final three seconds.

"It's my 30th year coaching … and I've never been in a game like that. It was absolutely incredible," South Dakota coach Chad Lavin said. "To withstand that many barrages takes a certain amount of toughness."

The Coyotes never trailed after taking the lead with more than seven minutes left in regulation. But Washburn never let them take a breath.

And Stiger had the stranglehold.

"I was in a rhythm and I felt it tonight," Stiger said.

The senior guard's eight threes were one short of the NCAA tournament record. "That was the greatest performance I've seen in terms of shots that had to be made," Lavin said of Stiger's performance.

In the first overtime, Washburn's Alyssa Mullen blocked a driving layup by Jeana Hoffman in the closing seconds.

The drives to the basket, especially by Bridget Yoerger and Shannon Daly were what saved the day for the Coyotes.

Yoerger finished with 19 points, most of which came after halftime.

Yoerger's drives to the basket were the result of a spread offense used by South Dakota the last half of the season.

Daly, a 5-foot, 4-inch guard, had one of the biggest drives, working the baseline for a basket that gave South Dakota a 77-75 lead in the second overtime.

Daly finished with just six points and was 2 of 10 from the floor, missing all five of her three-point attempts. She did, however, make two free throws with 14.5 seconds left that stretched the lead to four

points.

"Shannon hadn't had anything go right all day, and she stepped up and made a couple big ones," Lavin said.

With the win, South Dakota, which improved to 32-1 on the season, advanced to the March 27 NCAA Division II women's basketball semifinals to face top-ranked and unbeaten Delta State (33-0). The game marked the second time this season that the Coyotes had won in overtime. They outlasted Augustana, 85-80, on Jan. 12 in Sioux Falls.

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