Summit League Preview: South Dakota Women Host Fort Wayne
They are perhaps the most valuable currency in the Summit League - road victories - and the South Dakota women's basketball team is coming into week four of conference play with a pair of week three away victories under their belts, as they set up shop at home for the next three.
Just one game on the USD schedule this week, a game tonight (January 18) with last place Fort Wayne.
The Mastodons (3-15/0-5) are the only winless team in league play so far, as they transition to a new coaching staff with a roster that's still a work in progress. Just one Fort Wayne player has started every game this season, sophomore guard De'Jour Young, who leads the team with 12 points a game. Young is the only player averaging in double figures.
Overall, the Mastodons are last in the league in scoring and have been held under 60 points in four of their last five games. They have been struggling from the floor, shooting under 40 percent in three of their last four.
There have also been issues on the defensive end where Fort Wayne allows a league-worst 52 percent field goal percentage from opponents, 53% from behind the three-point line.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Vermillion.
Last Wednesday (January 11), the Coyotes did something they hadn't done in five years, beat Oral Roberts in Tulsa.
USD was dominant in the first quarter, shooting at a 67 percent clip, while allowing the Golden Eagles to hit just 25 percent of their shots.
In the first quarter, the Coyotes crashed the boards, outrebounding ORU by five, while the defense turned the Golden Eagles over six times, en route to a 20-6 lead after ten minutes.
With Abigail Fogg on the bench with early foul trouble, Kate Liveringhouse came off the USD bench for seven first quarter points in six minutes, finishing the first half with 12 points.
The Coyote offense recorded just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the second quarter, but exploded for 10 over the final 2:30 to up their lead to 18 at halftime.
In the second half, Ciara Duffy came alive after a quiet first 20 minutes. The freshman scored 10 of her 15 points in the third, and USD was on its' way to a 69-47 win, their ninth in ten games.
Sophomore guard Jaycee Bradley led all Coyote scorers with 16 points, including four three-pointers.
As a team, USD dominated one the of the top rebounding teams in the Summit League with a plus-16 edge on the glass and a plus-10 point advantage inside.
For the second straight game, the Coyotes were 60 percent or better from the three-point line (9-of-15).
At Omaha, Saturday (January 14), USD again got off to a great start, hitting five of their first seven shots, with Fogg leading the way with nine first quarter points. But she and Liveringhouse would land in early foul trouble and the Coyotes struggled thru the second quarter, going just 2-of-11 from the floor.
Things were even worse from long range as South Dakota was just 1-of12 from the three-point line in the first half, as the Mavericks grabbed a six-point lead at the break.
In the second half, the Coyotes found their shooting touch. Bradley, who had missed all six of her shots in the first half, erupted for a dozen second half points and teamed with Allison Arens to key a 10-0 run to put USD up one. Arens finished the game with 23 points.
Omaha edged back in front by two with 2:24 left, but back-to-back buckets from Fogg and Allison Arens gave the Coyotes a lead they would never relinquish.
In the final 1:22, USD players stepped to the free throw line nine times and made eight, while the defense forced Omaha to go 0-of-6 from the floor in the final 1:35, preserving the 60-52 victory.
I talked with USD Coach Dawn Plitzuweit about last week's games and this week's match-up with Fort Wayne: