South Dakota women’s rally falls short

The South Dakota women's basketball team cut a 14-point second-half deficit to two in the final minute but the Coyotes' rally fell short in a 65-63 loss to Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne in Summit League play Thursday night in Fort Wayne, IN.  The loss spoiled the Summit League debut to the Coyotes, who fell to 4-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play.

Senior forward Amber Hegge (Crofton, NE) had her first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Annie Roche (Vermillion) added 15 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Junior guard Alexis Yackley (Onida) had seven assists to go with seven points, while senior center Jodie Boss (Columbus, NE) had four blocks.

The Mastodons (3-4, 1-0 Summit) shot 50 percent from the field (24-of-48). South Dakota shot 39.3 percent from the field, including only 29.6 percent from three-point range (8-of-27).  The Coyotes shot just 30.3 percent in the first half, hitting 10-of-33 field goals.

"It's a tough loss. We left some things out there," South Dakota head coach Ryun Williams said. "We played hard, but we seemed to be a little tentative and hesitant early on. That is uncharacteristic of us."

The Coyotes were down 58-44 with 7:47 left in the game before beginning their rally.  They went on a 10-0 run – sparked by threes from Roche and Yackley – to cut the lead to 58-54 with 5:19 left.

IPFW stretched the lead to 61-54, but the Coyotes closed within 63-60 with 1:12 left on a Boss layup.  The Coyotes had a chance to tie in the final 30 seconds after forcing an IPFW turnover, but they turned the ball over themselves. After a foul, IPFW's Erin Murphy hit two free throws to push the lead to 65-60. Roche hit a three in the final second but the rally fell short as the Mastodons held on for a two-point win.

"You've got to play through some bad luck sometimes. You are going to have to play through that on the road," Williams said. "For the most part, we did a nice job of playing with some poise. We just came up a little short tonight."

South Dakota lead 9-6 with 14:59 left in the first half – with Hegge scoring six points and Roche adding a three — but managed just one point over the next seven minutes as IPFW went on a 12-1 run to take an 18-10 lead.

The Coyotes got off to a miserable start shooting the ball, hitting just 4-of-19 (21.11 percent) of their attempts in the first 12:30 of the contest.

IPFW stretched the lead to 10 twice – but each time, Freshman Taylor Moore (Milford, NE) drained a three-pointer to bring the Coyotes within seven, including one with 3:37 left that cut the Mastodon lead to 27-20.

Those threes by Moore were part of a 15-7 Coyote run over the final 5:26 of the half that brought South Dakota within 31-29 at the half.

Hegge led the Coyotes with 15 first-half points, while Roche and Moore each had six.

South Dakota trailed by just two at the half, but IPFW methodically pulled away and built a 58-44 lead, setting up the Coyote comeback attempt in the final seven minutes.

Boss, Moore and junior guard Tempestt Wilson (Elk River, MN) had six points each. Hegge added three assists.

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