DENVER, CO Senior guard Ciara Duffy scored a career high 31 points to lead South Dakota to a 92-60 road victory Sunday afternoon inside Hamilton Gymnasium.
The Coyotes (21-2, 10-0 Summit) remain undefeated at the top of the league standings, while Denver (9-14, 3-7) drops its third straight. The Pioneers are the only team to score 60 points in both meetings against the Coyotes this season, as USD entered the game holding league foes to 46 points.
“Today we got off to a slow start on both ends and that was unfortunately because some of our turnovers led to transition opportunities for our opponent at the start,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Once we did a better job of taking care of the ball, our offense and defense were able to execute at a much higher level in the final three quarters.
“The Coyote supporters were awesome in Denver today. A special thanks to all of the Yotes who made the trip to watch our young ladies today!”
This marked Duffy’s first 30-point game as a Coyote, scoring eight more points than she has in any game this season. She also handed out seven assists and grabbed five boards.
Joining her in double-figures was junior Chloe Lamb with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Lamb handed out four assists, grabbed four boards and stole the ball twice.
Junior center Hannah Sjerven neared a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Sjerven also recorded a career-high six steals and blocked a pair of shots. Senior guard Madison McKeever tallied 11 points with four boards.
Denver’s Lauren Loven and Meghan Boyd paced the Pioneers with 14 points apiece. Madison Nelson also reached double-figures with 10 points and nine boards.
The Pioneers jumped out to an eight-point lead, 14-6, to start the game in part thanks to seven points off Coyote turnovers.
South Dakota used a 15-point run starting at the end of the first quarter to escape the deficit and jump out to a 24-16 lead. The Coyotes led by eight, 38-30, at the halftime break.
South Dakota extended its lead to double-digits multiple times during the third quarter. Loven drained a 3-pointer with 1:44 remaining in the quarter to close the gap to 58-51, but subsequent triples from Duffy and Lamb drew the lead back out to 64-51.
The Coyotes ran away with it in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Pioneers by 19 points in the frame to win 92-60. Duffy had 10 points in the quarter.
South Dakota shot 57.1 percent (36-of-63) from the field with 11 3-pointers. The Coyotes shot above 60 percent in both the second and fourth quarters. Denver finished 19-of-56 (33.9 percent) from the field. The Coyotes controlled the paint, outscoring the Pioneers 48-14 in the lane.
South Dakota finishes off its stretch of three-straight road games at North Dakota on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. in Grand Forks.