Summit Regular Season Title Slips Away From Coyotes In Western Illinois
USD Will Be Fourth Seed In Tournament After 81-75 Loss
MACOMB, Ill.–Western Illinois guards Taylor Higginbotham and Emily Clemens scored 25 and 24 points, respectively, to lead the Leathernecks to an 81-75 win over South Dakota inside Western Hall on Saturday evening. The win gives Western Illinois (23-6, 13-3) its first Summit League regular season title in more than a decade.
South Dakota (22-7, 11-5 Summit League) will be the No. 4 seed in the Summit League Tournament. The Coyotes will face Omaha (15-14, 8-8) at noon on Sunday, March 5.
Four Coyotes scored in double figures led by senior center Abigail Fogg’s fourth 20-point game. Sophomore guards Jaycee Bradley and Allison Arens scored 18 and 14 points, respectively. Freshman guard Madison McKeever chipped in 12 points.
Both teams scored 26 field goals and the Coyotes made 11 threes to the Leathernecks’ nine. The score differential came from the free-throw line. Both teams were perfect from the charity stripe, but the Leathernecks had 20 attempts to the Coyotes’ 12. South Dakota shot 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the field.
South Dakota led 25-18 after the first quarter, but Western Illinois outscored the Coyotes 22-15 in the second to tie it up 40-40 at the half.
With 2:20 remaining in the third quarter, Higginbotham and Clemens combined for a 10-0 run with five made free throws to pull away. USD again pulled within six on a McKeever layup with 6:35 remaining in the game, but Clemens scored four free throws and a layup to draw the Leatherneck lead back out.
Bradley knocked down a pair of her five threes in the final 4:05 of the game. Then, with three seconds on the clock, McKeever hit a 3-pointer to pull within four. The Coyotes were forced to foul and Clemens knocked down both free throws to end the game.
Western Illinois edged the Coyotes on the boards 37-34. The Coyotes’ were led by nine rebounds from Arens and eight from Fogg. The Leathernecks also scored 21 points off Coyote turnovers.