MACOMB, Ill.—South Dakota exploded for 58 second-half points en route to a 96-65 road win at Western Illinois inside Western Hall Sunday in the Summit League opener for both teams.
The 22nd-ranked Coyotes, the preseason pick to win the league this season, improved to 12-2 overall and are 7-2 all-time in Summit openers. Western Illinois fell to 6-8 overall and 5-2 at home.
Chloe Lamb scored 14 points after the break and totaled 20 in all to lead five South Dakota players in double figures. Hannah Sjerven finished with 18 points, Taylor Frederick added 14, Ciara Duffy with 13 and Liv Korngable chipped in 11.
"We responded very well to a team in Western Illinois that played very aggressively, especially in the first half," said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. "Our young ladies did a great job of not only making adjustments on both ends, but also in continuing to play together and share the ball.
"Now we have to quickly recover and prepare for a Fort Wayne team that has had more prep time. Our game Wednesday will be their league opener."
South Dakota led 20-12 after one quarter with balanced scoring and despite early foul trouble. It was an even second quarter until Western Illinois scored five quick points just before the halftime buzzer to trim South Dakota's lead to 38-35.
Sjerven scored the Coyotes first six points to begin the third quarter and Lamb buried a 3-pointer from the side that made it 53-42 with 4:16 to go. Lamb scored seven straight for USD in the period and the Coyotes led 63-53 thru three.
Western Illinois guard Olivia Kaufmann brought it back within single digits with two free throws two minutes into the fourth quarter that made it 68-59.
South Dakota put it away with a 22-2 run. The Coyotes scored on six consecutive possessions and on 12 of their final 14 trips down the court over the last eight minutes of the game. Frederick, Lamb and McKeever combined for 15 points in that span, and South Dakota made 10 of its final 12 shots including three 3's.
USD has won its last five games against the Leathernecks to take a 15-3 lead in the all-time series. The Coyotes return to the court Wednesday with an 11:30 a.m. (CT) tip against Purdue Fort Wayne in Indiana.
Note: More information from this game will be provided at a later time. Official statistics could not be provided by Western Illinois immediately after the game.