VERMILLION, S.D.—Tempestt Wilson scored 24 points and Nicole Seekamp added 19 as South Dakota defeated Western Illinois 71-67 Saturday on Senior Day at the DakotaDome.
The win was the second in three days for the Coyotes (14-14, 9-6 Summit League), who remain in third place in the League standings. South Dakota's final regular season contest is Thursday at Omaha.
Ashley Luke had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead five Western Illinois players who scored in double figures. Michelle Maher hit three first-half 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Jackie Rieger made 9 of 10 free throws and had 11 points. Saule Kontautaite and Charnelle Reed had 10 points each.
The Coyotes trailed 54-47 with nine minutes to go, but scored nine unanswered points in less than three minutes to regain the lead. Wilson had seven points during the run and later hit a 3 that gave USD a 65-61 lead with 3:48 remaining. Wilson and Seekamp combined to score 30 second-half points.
Coyote point guard Alexis Yackley made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 26 seconds left that gave USD a 69-67 lead. Reed backed Yackley down near the block on the ensuing possession, but missed a jumper that would have tied it. Seekamp rebounded, was fouled and hit two free throws with 4.8 seconds left that sealed the win.
Western Illinois (12-15, 5-9) was playing its second game in as many days. A snow storm delayed its contest with Kansas City until Friday and the Leathernecks arrived in Vermillion late last night. Western Illinois is 0-4 all-time against South Dakota including a 63-60 loss in Macomb back on Jan. 24.
The Leathernecks hit six three-pointers in the first half, but was 1 of 8 from long range in the second. South Dakota closed the first half on a 14-6 run and led 31-29 at halftime.
Sam Mehr, one of four USD seniors honored in a pregame ceremony, had four of the Coyotes' 11 steals. She also hit two three's and had three rebounds and three assists. South Dakota scored 18 points off 15 Western Illinois turnovers.
Wilson's 24 points was two shy of her career high. She also led the team with seven rebounds. The Coyotes didn't surrender a second-chance opportunity until the second half and won the battle of the boards 36-33.