USD pounds Panthers

By Jeremy Hoeck

jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net

If Creighton was the turning point, the University of South Dakota women have sprinted around the corner.

To the tune of four straight wins and four games of 80-plus points on offense.

“Coach always talks about that we’re slowly turning the corner, and I think it’s true,” said junior Raeshel Contreras, who scored a game-high 21 points in USD’s 87-67 rout of Northern Iowa on Tuesday night at the DakotaDome.

Since a 48-point outing at Creighton two weeks ago, the Coyotes (6-5) have scored 82, 81, 81 and 87 points — with three of those wins against Division I teams.

“We’re finally all getting to know each other’s personnel, who can do this and who can come off the bench,” Contreras, one of those reserves, added.

As has been the case during its stretch, USD has gotten big contributions from a number of players. Four reached double figures Tuesday, with Contreras, Polly Harrington (18), Tia Hemiller (11) and Margaret McCloud (10).

For good measure, the Coyotes also out-rebounded the Panthers 44-28.

“We’re just starting to click. The chemsistry is starting to be there now,” Harrington said. “The younger kids are starting to get to the know the system and starting to know everything.

“Everything is just fusing together.”

Although one of the key stats surrounding the program is that USD is now 18-2 over the past two seasons when scoring at least 70 points, defense is the catalyst, according to head coach Amy Williams.

“I certainly don’t think we’ll ever hang our hat on scoring 80 plus points,” Williams said. “That’s nice when we do it, and we become difficult to guard, but we’re going to need to hang our hat on playing great defense.”

Northern Iowa (3-7) — which lost by 36 points at South Dakota earlier this season — was ultimately done in by poor shooting in the first half.

Although the Coyotes started 2-of-11 from the field, they used a 15-2 run to build a double digit cushion. The Panthers, meanwhile, never got going in the first half. They were 14-of-32 from the field.

In a second half that was really never in jeopardy (the closest UNI got was within 11), the Coyotes kept up the pressure on the glass. Six players had at least four rebounds, led by Lisa Loeffler and Bridget Arens with eight apiece.

“It gives us energy, and makes us play hard when people are crashing the boards and getting those put-backs,” Harrington said. “It sparks the team.

“It’s great when everyone is working hard to rebound.”

Not to mention when just about everyone is approaching double figures in points.

“The more threats you have, the harder it’s going to be to stop a team,” Contreras said. “No team is going to get so far with one ore two people doing everything.

“We have so many scorers that can go off at any time, that makes us more dangerous.”

The Coyotes now have an 8-day layoff before returning to action Dec. 19 against College of Saint Mary — a top-25 program in the NAIA ranks.

 

You can follow Jeremy Hoeck on Twitter at twitter.com/jhoeck. Discuss this story at www.yankton.net.

 

NORTHERN IOWA (3-7)

 

Hannah Schonhardt 4-8 0-2 8; Alyssa Johnson 0-2 0-0 0; Madison Weekly 4-10 2-2 11; Stephanie Davison 1-4 0-0 2; Brooke Brown 3-6 0-0 8; Erin Dohnalek 3-4 2-2 9; Amber Sorenson 0-6 0-0 0; Angie Davison 0-1 0-0 0; Moran Lanning 1-1 1-2 3; Abbie Ackerman 0-1 0-0 0; Ty Smith 1-3 1-1 3; Brittni Donaldson 2-5 2-2 7; Jen Keitel 6-12 4-5 16. TOTALS 25-63 12-16 67.

 

SOUTH DAKOTA (6-5)

 

Polly Harrington 8-14 2-2 18; Lisa Loeffler 3-4 0-0 6; Tia Hemiller 5-7 0-0 11; Nicole Seekamp 3-14 1-1 9; Heidi Hoff 1-3 0-0 2; Bailey Milne 0-0 0-0 0; Madeleine White 0-0 0-0 0; Taylor Moore 1-2 0-0 3; Bridget Arens 2-4 3-3 7; Raeshel Contreras 6-11 6-6 21; Jaylah Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Margaret McCloud 3-8 4-5 10. TOTALS 32-67 16-17 87.

 

Halftime: USD 35-22. Three-Pointers: USD 7-17 (Contreras 3-7, Seekamp 2-3, Hemiller 1-2, Moore 1-2, Harrington 0-1, Hoff 0-2), UNI 5-23 (Brown 2-3, Dohnalek 1-1, Donaldson 1-4, Weekly 1-5, A. Davison 0-1, Schonhardt 0-2, S. Davison 0-2, Sorenson 0-5). Total Rebounds: USD 44 (Loeffler 8, Arens 8), UNI 28 (Schonhardt 6). Assists: UNI 17 (Keitel 4), USD 13 (Seekamp 4). Turnovers: 12 each. Personal Fouls: USD 17, UNI 16. Fouled Out: None. Attendance: 1138.

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