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Hegge, Coyotes Rally Past Jacks for 8th Straight Win

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VERMILLION, S.D. - - Senior Amber Hegge scored a game-high 28 points – including several key baskets at the end of regulation and in overtime – to help the South Dakota women’s basketball team earn a thrilling 59-53 win over in-state rival South Dakota State in Summit League action Monday night at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D. The Coyotes improved to 18-6 overall and 9-5 in the Summit League after earning their eighth straight win, while SDSU fell to 18-8 overall and  13-2 in the league.


The loss ended SDSU’s nine-game winning streak, and was the first Coyote win over the Jackrabbits since moving to Division I. The last win came in Feb. 2004.


Hegge (Crofton, Neb.) finished 10-of-22 from the field and was 4-of-6 from three-point range. She also added five assists. Senior Annie Roche (Vermillion, S.D.) added eight points and three steals, while junior Alexis Yackley (Onida, S.D.) added six points, six assists and five steals.  Senior Jodie Boss (Columbus, Neb.) added seven points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.


In one of the Coyotes’ biggest wins since moving to Division I, it took several huge plays late in regulation – and in overtime – to secure the victory.


SDSU led 49-40 with 2:30 left, but it was Hegge’s  three-pointer with 2:22 left that turned the momentum.  The Coyotes did not allow a point over the final 2:30 of regulation as their defense once again rose to the occasion.


Roche drained a jumper with 1:45 left to cut the gap to 49-45, and after a Boss steal, Yackley drove the lane and converted a layup to cut the lead to 49-47 with 1:17 left.


Once again, the Coyote defense stepped up, as Roche stole the ball from SDSU’s Jill Young and seconds later, drained a jumper to tie the game at 49-49 with 24 seconds left.


SDSU had a chance to win in regulation, but Roche tied up Young near the baseline with a 0.1 seconds left to leave the game tied, forcing overtime.


The Jackrabbits scored first in overtime, but the Coyotes answered immediately when Hegge drained a three-pointer with 3:26 left, giving South Dakota its first lead – 52-51 since the 6:31 mark of the first half.


Hegge’s three started a decisive 8-0 Coyote run in overtime. South Dakota held SDSU without a point for 4:24 in overtime and built a 57-51 lead in the process. Hegge’s jumper made it 54-51 with 2:44 left, and the senior converted a free throw with 1:53 left to make it 55-51.


Yackley hit a pair of free throws in the final minute to push the lead to 57-51, and when Hannah Strop hit a jumper for SDSU with 13 seconds left, the Coyote lead was cut to four. However, a pair of Roche free throws with nine seconds  left iced the game for the Coyotes.


Of the eight wins during the Coyotes’ winning streak, this one proved to be the toughest.


South Dakota led 17-16 after a Hegge layup with 6:31 left in the first half, but the Jackrabbits ended the half on a 15-4 run to take a 31-21 lead into halftime. 


The Coyotes shot just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from the field in the first half, compared to 44.4 percent (12-of-27) for SDSU.


South Dakota scored the first five points of the second half – all coming from Hegge – to cut the SDSU lead to 31-26. However, SDSU pushed the lead back to double digits at 37-27 with 12:15 left after an Ashley Eide layup.


The Coyotes battled back, and a three-point play by Boss was part of a 7-0 run that cut the SDSU lead to 39-36 with 7:56 left. The Jackrabbits responded by scoring 10 of the next 14 points to stretch the lead to 49-40 with 2:30 left, but from there, the Coyotes turned the tide for good.


The Coyotes had just six turnovers in the game while forcing 14 SDSU turnovers. The Coyotes turned those turnovers into 17 points.


Freshman Kelly Stewart (Amery, Wis.) added five points off the bench for the Coyotes. Junior Tempestt Wilson (Elk River, Minn.) added six rebounds to go with five points.


The Coyotes return to the road on Feb. 18 at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis. Game time is 6 p.m. Central time in Indianapolis, Ind.


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