USD survives close battle with Oral Roberts to stay perfect at home

VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota junior guard Ciara Duffy buried the 3-pointer to kick off a fourth-quarter run as the Coyotes closed out a thrilling 75-64 victory over Oral Roberts on Saturday afternoon inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

South Dakota (22-3, 10-1 Summit League) used a 17-2 run, not allowing a Golden Eagle field goal, in the final 3:31 of the fourth quarter. The Coyotes turned a nine-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to an 11-point win.

"Today was a battle and our young ladies made some great adjustments and some really big plays down the stretch," said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. "Our fans did a great job of bringing passion and made it a really loud environment, especially in the fourth quarter."

Duffy scored 16 of her team-high 18 points in the fourth period alone as the Coyotes made the final run. She also grabbed nine rebounds, handed out four assists and swiped a pair of steals.

Sophomore Chloe Lamb paced the Coyotes offensively early in the game and finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Junior guard Madison McKeever was the third Coyote in double figures with 14 points while making 5-of-9 from the field.

Senior guard Allison Arens' stat line included seven points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a pair of blocks.

Oral Roberts (13-12, 6-6 Summit League) took the Coyotes out of the rhythm early as South Dakota made just one of their first 11 field goals in the game. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles got hot behind the arc making 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) from 3-point range in the first half. ORU sophomore guard Keni Jo Lippe scored all 14 of her points in the first half with four 3-pointers.

The Golden Eagles' largest lead came near the end of the first quarter as senior guard Lakota Beatty hit the triple to make it 22-7.

The two teams traded baskets for much of the second and third quarters with the Coyotes trailing by six entering the final frame. ORU sophomore guard Maya Mayberry hit a 3-pointer to extend the Golden Eagles' lead to nine to start the fourth quarter. Mayberry finished with a game-high 21 points.

The Coyotes never quit and slowly cut into the lead in the minutes following. Arens found a cutting Lamb to cut the margin to one with four minutes remaining. Oral Roberts responded with a 3-point play from senior guard Jordan Gilbert, but Duffy answered with a 3-point basket on the ensuing possession.

South Dakota took the lead for the first time, 63-62, on a pair of made free throws by sophomore center Hannah Sjerven. Duffy buried another triple with just over a minute on the clock to ice the game, giving the Coyotes a 68-63 advantage. The Coyotes were able to close out the final seconds with made free throws.

South Dakota's defense held Oral Roberts to 2-of-17 from the field in the final quarter. ORU, who ranks third in the nation for 3-point field goals made, made just three of its 13 in the second half.

The Coyotes shot 43.6 percent (24-of-55) from the field, while the Golden Eagles finished at 35.6 percent (21-of-59).

South Dakota travels to Western Illinois next Saturday with tip-off scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the second-half of a doubleheader with the Coyote men.