SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—South Dakota junior guard Ciara Duffy scored 23 points to lead the Coyotes past Wichita State 73-64 on Wednesday evening inside the Sanford Pentagon.
“Tonight was a tough matchup versus an extremely athletic and aggressive team in Wichita State,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Fortunately, we were able to find a way to win by getting to the free-throw line and creating extra possessions on the offensive glass.
“This was a game where the crowd played a huge part in the game, especially in the second half. We are thankful for our partnership with Sanford and tonight was a fun night for Coyote nation to watch an exciting game in the Sanford Pentagon.”
South Dakota (4-1) ended Wichita State’s (4-1) four-game winning streak, the program’s best start since 1996. The Coyotes also tied the all-time series with the Shockers at 3-3.
Duffy tallied 20 of her 23 points in the second half to surpass 20 points for the ninth time in her career. She also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists.
Classmate Madison McKeever pitched in 19 points to tie her own career high. Her stat line included five rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. McKeever led the charge in attacking the rim to make 10 trips to the free-throw line. Overall, South Dakota made 30-of-36 free throws to clinch the victory over a tough Wichita State defense.
Wichita State was led in scoring by freshman guards Jaida Hampton and Seraphine Bastin with 12 points a piece. The Shockers boast the fifth-youngest roster in the nation with eight true freshmen.
South Dakota used an 18-3 run at the end of the first quarter and into the second to take a 23-12 lead in the game. The Shockers responded with their own 14-point run to close that gap to 23-22 with 2:41 remaining in the first half. Duffy drained just the Coyotes’ second 3-pointer of the half with 48 seconds on the clock to give USD a 29-22 advantage.
After a cold 2-of-17 start outside the arc in the first half, the 3-pointers started to fall at the beginning of the third quarter. The Coyotes went 4-of-5 in the first four minutes of action with NBA-range triples from McKeever, sophomore guard Chloe Lamb and a pair from Duffy.
The Coyotes extended the lead to 45-35 with the hot shooting, but behind a surge from Wichita State freshman guard Dawnyel Lair the Shockers cut it back down to 47-45 near the end of the third quarter. Lair scored six of her nine points in the stretch.
A denied pass into the post by junior forward Taylor Frederick, capitalized on by Lamb with a basket, drew the Coyotes’ lead back out to eight at 55-47 at the top of the fourth quarter. Hampton knocked down a triple on the ensuing possession to silence a rowdy Coyote crowd.
A steal and score by the Shockers cut the Coyotes lead to one, 59-58, with 3:45 remaining. A Wichita State foul on the next possession put McKeever on the free-throw line. With McKeever’s lone miss from the line, Frederick grabbed the offensive board and reset the offense to create a reverse 3-point play.
The Coyotes put the game away in the final three minutes with 11 made free throws.
South Dakota dominated Wichita State on the boards, 36-24 with 17 offensive rebounds. The Coyotes had 18 second-chance points. Five players grabbed five or more rebounds including Duffy, McKeever, senior guard Allison Arens, redshirt-sophomore center Hannah Sjerven and sophomore guard Monica Arens.
The Coyotes hit the road for a game at Montana at 8 p.m. (CT) on Saturday in Missoula, Montana, to wrap up Thanksgiving week.