No. 25 Coyotes put up solid fight, but fall at No. 5 South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C.—South Dakota senior guard Ciara Duffy scored 20 points as the No. 25/21 Coyotes dropped a 73-60 decision to No. 5/6 South Carolina inside Colonial Life Arena on Sunday afternoon.

"Our young ladies did an incredible job competing versus one of the nation's best teams in one of the toughest environments in women's college basketball," said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. "Our nonconference schedule was very demanding, but our resiliency and ability to play together has helped us improve over the first 13 games.

"Now we have to take a moment to be in the precious present and spend time with family and friends over the holidays. Then, we need to come back rejuvenated and recharged as we prepare for the rigors of conference play."

South Dakota (11-2) became the third team this season to score 60 or more points on South Carolina (12-1) and the first to do so inside Colonial Life Arena. No. 5/6 South Carolina entered the game defeating opponents by an average of 30 points.

The Coyotes are also the third team to shoot above 40 percent from the field against the Gamecocks. South Dakota finished 26-of-62 (41.9 percent) from the field. The Gamecocks also finished 26-of-62 from the field, but got to the free-throw line 13 more times.

Behind Duffy's 20 points were junior guards Monica Arens and Chloe Lamb with 13 points apiece. Senior guard Madison McKeever added nine points and four steals.

South Carolina's Lele Grissett led the Gamecocks with 17 points and Zia Cooke added 13 points.

The Coyotes, who entered the game ranked second in the nation for 3-point field-goal percentage at 43.7 percent, finished 3-of-17 behind the arc in this one.

South Carolina, with seven players standing taller than 6-feet, edged South Dakota on the boards 47-30. A 6-foot-5 freshman Gamecock Aliyah Boston led the way with nine rebounds while 6-foot-2 senior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan added eight more. The Gamecocks got 27 second-chance points in the game.

The Coyotes begin Summit League action on Dec. 29 on the road at Western Illinois. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside Western Hall in Macomb, Illinois.