Duffney and Larkins lead Coyotes to impressive win over Western Illinois

USD women improve to 7-3 in Summit League with big win over Leathernecks
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 12:37 AM CST
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VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -South Dakota got 20 points from Carley Duffney and another near triple-double from Grace Larkins in a 74-56 win against Western Illinois Thursday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. It was the third straight win for South Dakota (11-10, 7-3 Summit) and avenges a nine-point loss at Western Illinois back on Dec. 31. The Leathernecks (8-13, 3-7) got 16 points from freshman Addi Brownfield but lost for the first time in three games. Larkins had 18 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. It is the fifth time this season she has posted eight or more assists. Larkins also had a game-high three steals.

“We really controlled tempo tonight,” said USD head coach Kayla Karius. “Western Illinois has a high-flying offense and they shoot a lot of 3′s. They play fast and can pour it on quickly, so to hold them to 4-of-20 from the 3 is a really good feat and we outrebounded them as well. “It was just a matter of time for Carley to turn it on and she has had a couple of really good weeks of practice. Grace is such an impact player. She picks and chooses her moments to go and push in transition and this is the fifth time she has come close to a triple-double.”

Western Illinois’ four 3-pointers matched a season low. They hit 10-of-35 in the first meeting. And although it was a physical game, South Dakota’s defense did a good enough job of keeping the Leathernecks off the free-throw line. Western Illinois made 10-of-16 from the stripe when it typically nets close to 20 free throws per game. Case in point was how South Dakota defended Anna Deets, who had averaged 26 points in her previous three games entering play Thursday. In those three games, she was 29-of-31 from the line. Thursday, she totaled 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting and was 3-of-4 from the stripe. Instead South Dakota was the aggressor. The Coyotes made 23-of-28 foul shots. Duffney was 9-of-11 and Larkins was 9-of-10.

“That equaled the most free throws we have made in a game this season and those two are great free-throw shooters,” said Karius. “The combination of either getting to the rim or being smart and drawing fouls was a game changer.” Western Illinois led 18-16 after one but South Dakota won the second quarter 25-8. Larkins and Duffney combined for 13 points in the second while the Leathernecks went 3-of-17 from the floor.

Duffney had 15 points in the first half. Larkins had nine points, seven boards and six assists. Western Illinois cut a 16-point, second-half deficit to eight on a steal-and-score by Deets to begin the fourth quarter. The scoring stagnated until the Coyotes poured it on at the end. Larkins and Alexi Hempe hit back-to-back threes with three minutes to go that broke the Leathernecks’ back. Hempe and Morgan Hansen combined for 10 fourth-quarter points for USD.

South Dakota stays home to host St. Thomas Saturday in a 1 p.m. tip. Hansen made three free throws with 3.2 seconds left to lift USD to a 58-56 win against the Tommies in St. Paul, Minnesota, back on Dec. 29.

Game recap courtesy USD Athletics