By Jeremy Hoeck
It had been a while since Lisa Loeffler had a shooting performance like she put together Saturday.
The stat line for the USD junior: 11-of-14 from the field for a career-high 24 points. And six rebounds.
Turns out, every one of those makes and rebounds were needed. The Coyotes shot 55 percent after halftime and used a plus-21 edge on the glass to hold off Wyoming 82-78 Saturday afternoon at the DakotaDome.
Loeffler, a native of Maplewood, Minn., eclipsed her total number of shots made from the previous five games. She even equaled her previous career high of 14 points by halftime.
So yeah, it had been a while since she produced like that?
“Yeah, but geez, it’s been a while,” Loeffler said. “During warmups, it didn’t feel special or anything, but once that first one went down, it started to feel good.”
Coming off a sluggish 48-point output at Creighton earlier in the week, the Coyotes (3-5) had their best shooting performance of the season against a previously-undefeated Cowgirls (4-1) squad.
A 12-2 run — with seven straight from Nicole Seekamp — early in the second half surged the Coyotes to a 57-46 lead with 12:24 to play.
Not content to get run out of the dome, the Cowgirls went on a 10-2 spurt to get them within 59-56 with 8:51 remaining.
Wyoming never relented, though, getting within 81-78 with seven seconds left. Seekamp was fouled and hit the second of two free throws, icing the victory that was all but easy.
“I think we can definitely do a better job finishing games,” USD head coach Amy Williams said. “We struggle a little bit keeping good penetrators in front of us; giving up those quick buckets.
“We’ll have to work on that a little bit, finishing stronger.”
Of course, when you can get 24 points from your four spot, you feel pretty good, Williams said.
“Polly (Harrington) calls those ‘layups’ for Lisa,” the second-year coach said. “We’re all surprised when she misses one of those baseline jumpers. She’s dangerous on those.”
Loeffler scored 10 of USD’s first 18 points, helping the Coyotes build a 34-32 lead at halftime. As was the case in the second half, most of Loeffler’s points came on baseline jumpers off feeds from drivers.
“They’re the reason I got those,” Loeffler said. “They drive and kick it to me. I think it helps knowing that we have different options; that if the drive isn’t there, we have other weapons.”
As a result, Seekamp finished with a team-high six assists to go along with 18 points — 14 coming after halftime.
“She can shoot those jumpers all day and we know she’ll make most of them,” Seekamp said. “I have faith in her, because we’ve seen her do that hundreds of times in practice.”
It was more than just offense that propelled USD to the win. it was a 45-24 edge on the glass. Wyoming was held to just six offensive rebounds, a defensive low for the Coyotes this season.
“That was huge,” Loeffler said. “That was our goal. We knew that if we won that, we’d have a great shot to win the game.”
In addition to Loeffler and Seekamp, the Coyotes — who host Utah State on Thursday — got 11 points and eight rebounds from Harrington, as well as eight points and seven rebounds from point guard Tia Hemiller.
Wyoming put four in double figures, led by Kaitlyn Mileto with 21 points.
You can follow Jeremy Hoeck on Twitter at twitter.com/jhoeck. Discuss this story at www.yankton.net.
Kayla Woodward 5-12 0-1 11; Jordan Sibrel 0-6 2-2 2; Marquelle Dent 6-8 0-2 13; Fallon Lewis 4-7 5-5 14; Kaitlyn Mileto 9-15 0-1 21; Chelan Landry 3-5 0-0 7; Kaylee Hoffman 1-2 2-4 4; Hailey Ligocki 0-0 0-0 0; Kaylie Rader 3-7 0-2 6. TOTALS 31-62 9-17 78.
SOUTH DAKOTA (3-5)
Polly Harrington 4-6 2-2 11; Lisa Loeffler 11-14 1-1 24; Tia Hemiller 2-6 2-5 8; Nicole Seekamp 5-12 7-8 18; Heidi Hoff 3-8 0-0 6; Taylor Moore 1-2 2-2 5; Bridget Arens 1-2 0-0 2; Raeshel Contreras 0-5 0-0 0; Jaylah Jackson 1-2 0-0 2; Margaret McCloud 1-5 4-4 6. TOTALS 29-62 18-22 82.
Halftime: USD 34-32. Three-Pointers: Wyoming 7-16 (Mileto 3-6, Lewis 1-1, Landry 1-1, Dent 1-2, Woodward 1-4, Sibrel 0-1, Hoffman 0-1), USD 6-18 (Hemiller 2-4, Harrington 1-2, Loeffler 1-2, Moore 1-2, Seekamp 1-3, Hoff 0-1, Jackson 0-1). Total Rebounds: USD 45 (Harrington 8, Hoff 8), Wyoming 24 (Woodward 4). Assists: USD 19 (Seekamp 6), Wyoming 14 (Dent 3, Hoffman 3). Turnovers: USD 13, Wyoming 10. Personal Fouls: USD 20, Wyoming 18. Fouled Out: Woodward. Attendance: 1021.