Junior Tempestt Wilson scored a season-high 19 points and sophomore McKayla Knudson added a career-high 13 to lead the South Dakota women's basketball team to a 66-54 win over Idaho State in nonconference action Wednesday night, Dec. 21, in Pocatello, ID. With the win, the Coyotes improved to 9-2 overall, while Idaho State fell to 7-5.
Wilson (Elk River, MN) hit 4-of-8 – including 3-of-5 from three-point range – from the field but was 8-of-9 from the free throw line. She also added six rebounds.
"Tempestt Wilson had a big-time game," South Dakota head coach Ryun Williams said. "It was neat to see her get going. She hit some big threes for us."
Senior Amber Hegge (Crofton, NE) added 14 points and eight rebounds in just 24 minutes of action, while sophomore McKayla Knudson (South Sioux City, NE) collected a career-high 13 points off the bench to go with five rebounds. Sophomore Pam January (Richfield, MN) had nine points in 12 minutes off the bench, just one away from a career high.
"Our bench did outstanding," Williams said. "Pam January gives us nine points in 12 minutes. And McKayla Knudson, you saw some glimpses of what she is capable of. Everybody was extremely productive."
South Dakota's defense – ranked fourth in the nation in points allowed at 47.8 points per game – again played a vital role in the win. The Coyotes held Idaho State to just 31.6 percent shooting (18-of-57), including just 23.5 percent (4-of-17) from three-point range. To open the game, South Dakota held Idaho State to just one made field goal on the Bengals' first 15 attempts – a percentage of 6.7 percent.
The Coyotes took an 8-3 lead 5:08 into the game, with Hegge accounting for six out of the eight points. Idaho State cut the lead to 8-7 with 11:21 left in the half, but the Coyotes responded with eight straight points over the next 2:18 to build a 16-7 advantage. January had five points during that run while Wilson drained a key three-pointer.
"We got that early lead, and we guarded well early," Williams said. "We made some plays early and that got us comfortable."
The Bengals cut the gap to 22-18, but the Coyotes finished the half on a 7-2 run to take a 29-20 lead into the break. That late-half run was sparked by Knudson, who had five points.
South Dakota pushed the lead into double digits early in the second half as Wilson scored five straight points in the first 1:30 to extend the Coyote lead to 34-20.
The Bengals cut the lead to 47-37 with 10:55 left, but the Coyotes answered with six straight points – four coming on free throws by senior Annie Roche (Vermillion) after two technical fouls on the Idaho State bench – over the next 35 seconds to push the lead to 53-37. From there, South Dakota pushed the lead to as much as 18 on its way to clinching a double-digit win.
"We played with really good poise and toughness down the stretch," Williams said.
Senior Jodie Boss (Columbus, NE) had seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Junior Alexis Yackley (Onida) and Hegge had two steals each.