South Dakota used a strong start to the second half to blow open a close game and open the second half of the Summit League schedule with a 88-67 win over Denver, Friday night in Vermillion.

Up three at the break, the Coyotes got six quick points from Polly Harrington to start the second half, and USD was off to a 21-9 run over the next 8:45, pushing the lead to 15 points, as South Dakota hit 9-of-12 to start the second 20 minutes.

South Dakota led by as many as 23 in the second half.

The Coyotes got great balance early in the first half as Raeshel Contreras scored six of her team's first eight points, then Tia Hemiller got involved with a quick seven points, while Nicole Seekamp collected six points, and after eight minutes USD was shooting 64 percent and leading 19-12.

The South Dakota shooting cooled off the rest of the first half - just 30 percent - but rebounding and defense kept the Coyotes on top, as USD outrebounded the Pioneers 21-13, pulling down seven offensive rebounds.

Denver got as close as two late in the half on the strength of 5-of-6 shooting and 12 points from forward Alison Janecek, but the Coyote defense limited the Pioneers scoring from the perimiter, limiting Denver to just 1-of-7 from behind the 3-point line.

USD had a 33-30 halftime lead.

South Dakota was led by Harrington who scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, she also finished with nine rebounds. A trio of other USD players scored in double figures: Seekamp with 17, Contreras with 15, Hemiller with 14.

USD shot 67 percent in the second half, 53 percent for the game. South Dakota outrebounded Denver 41-32.

The Coyote defense was greatly improved in the rematch with Denver.  The Pioneers scored 91 on USD when the two teams met in Colorado last month. Denver's two leading scorers that day Theresa Wirth (26 points) and Morgan Van Riper-Rose (22 points) were held to 11 combined points.  Janecek led the Pioneers with 17 points. Denver shot 36 percent from the floor, 31 percent in the second half.

USD runs its record to 8-1 at the DakotaDome this season.

South Dakota (12-11/3-5) is back in action at home next week hosting Fort Wayne and IUPUI.