Coyote Women Rally Past Jacks In 2nd Half

USD Beats SDSU 82-78 At Dakota Dome

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Raeshel Contreras tallied a career-high 32 points as Tia Hemiller scored all nine of her points and hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the last 3:26 to lift the South Dakota women’s basketball team past South Dakota State 82-78 in the DakotaDome on Saturday afternoon. The win moved the Coyotes (14-4, 4-1) into sole possession of first place in the Summit League standings.

Contreras scored 23 of USD’s 48 second half points. She shot 5-of-7 from the floor, 3-of-4 from 3-point range and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line in the half. Her previous career-high was 29, which she set on Dec. 21 against North Dakota.

Hemiller hit her 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to spark a game clinching 12-4 run for USD over a three minute span. Her first trey gave the Coyotes a 71-69 lead with 3:26 remaining, and the second 3-pointer increased the Coyote lead to five with 2:28 left. Hemiller also hit the game sealing free throw with three seconds remaining.

Nicole Seekamp was USD’s second leading scorer with 12 points, but also added five assists. Heidi Hoff came off the bench to score a season-high 11 points while Lisa Loeffler scored seven points and led the Coyotes in rebounds with eight.

SDSU (12-7, 3-3) was led by Macy Miller’s 25 points and five steals. Chynna Stevens recorded the lone double-double in the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Mariah Clarin added 13 points and six rebounds.

The Jacks did not have Megan Waytashek, who leads the team in scoring at 14 points per game this season. She did not make the trip due to illness.

SDSU had a better shooting percentage than USD (42.9 percent to 40.7), made more baskets (27-22) and held the advantage in points in the paint (34-20). However the Coyotes shot almost twice as many free throws, going 30-of-41 from the free-throw line while SDSU was 18-for-22. USD also had two more 3-pointers than the Jacks (8-6) and held an edge in bench points (20-16).

The Jacks led by as many as 10 twice in the opening half, including after a 20-5 run over a six minute stretch put them up 24-14 with 11:11 remaining in the period. The Coyotes closed the gap to 35-34 with 17 seconds left in the half, but Clarin added a basket for the Jacks with one second remaining to give the Jacks a 37-34 lead at the break.

No player on either team reached double-digit point totals in the first half. Contreras scored nine points in the opening half for the Coyotes while Hoff added seven points. Clarin and Miller both had eight first half points for the Jacks.

USD’s 9-2 scoring run to start the second half was the first of 11 lead changes in the period. The last lead change came on Hemiller’s first 3-pointer. USD’s ensuing 12-4 run stretched its lead to 80-73 with 29 seconds remaining, but SDSU closed the gap to three with eight seconds left. After SDSU’s full court press forced USD to call a timeout on the ensuing inbound pass, Hemiller drew a foul and made the first of her two free throws to seal the game.

South Dakota is now alone in first-place in the Summit League standings. Western Illinois, who was tied with USD entering the day, lost at Oral Roberts, 76-73. The win also briefly tied the South Dakota Showdown Series standings at 4-4.

South Dakota will take a trip east to face Fort Wayne and IUPUI this upcoming week. The Coyotes will see Fort Wayne on Thursday night at 6 p.m. before facing IUPUI on Saturday night.