DENVER, Colo.—Denver shot 62.5 percent from the floor to down South Dakota 104-99 inside Hamilton Coliseum on Thursday evening.
Denver (9-7, 2-1 Summit) hands South Dakota (13-3, 1-1 Summit) its first loss in Summit League play since February of 2017.
South Dakota sophomore guard Chloe Lamb scored a career high 23 points and senior guard Allison Arens added a season best 22 points. Coyote junior guards Ciara Duffy and Madison McKeever also reached double-figures with 19 and 11 points, respectively.
Denver was paced by junior guard Lauren Loven’s 32 points on 10-of-15 shooting. The Pioneers also had four players in double figures. Jasmine Jeffcoat scored 20 points, Madison Nelson pitched in 18 and Samantha Romanowski had a double-double with 17 points and 13 assists.
The Coyotes started off hot, jumping out to an 11-2 lead less than three minutes into the game. A 10-point run after the first quarter media break put South Dakota up 25-10.
Denver knocked down five 3-pointers in the second quarter and went on a 14-4 run towards the end of the half to take their first lead of the game. A pair of layups from Duffy were the Coyotes’ only answer during the stretch.
After being tied up 50-50 at the break, the Pioneers used a 25-15 third quarter to stretch out a lead. Denver led by as much as 13 points, 83-70 just over halfway through the fourth quarter.
The Coyotes got seven-straight points from the Arens sisters to make it 83-77 with just over five minutes to play. Sophomore guard Monica Arens drained the big-time 3-pointer to close the gap. She finished with nine points in the game.
A succession of quick plays allowed South Dakota to close the gap to 87-84. Duffy scored on a reverse layup, Lamb forced a turnover on defense and McKeever hit the three for a five-point swing in 20 seconds. Denver’s Claire Gritt answered McKeever’s 3-pointer to again make it a six-point game.
South Dakota made it a 3-point game twice more in the final 90 seconds. Lamb and Duffy combined for three buckets in the final stretch, but Denver scored 10 points from the charity stripe in the final two minutes to hold off USD’s charge.
South Dakota shot 50 percent (33-of-66) from the floor and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from downtown. Denver made 62.5 percent (35-of-56) from the field and made 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from outside the arc.
The Coyotes outrebounded the Pioneers 35-24 and only gave up four offensive boards on a team that averages 13. However, the Pioneers forced 22 Coyote turnovers and capitalized with 31 points-off turnovers.
South Dakota returns home to host South Dakota State at 1 p.m. Sunday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.