VERMILLION, SD -

South Dakota sophomore guard Allison Arens scored 23 points and freshman guard Ciara Duffy added a career high 21 points as the Coyotes defeated Concordia-St. Paul 83-58 Wednesday night inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

South Dakota improves to 6-1 on the year. The game served as an exhibition for Concordia-St. Paul, who enters NSIC play at Augustana on Friday.

“In talking to Division II coaches around the area, they said they gave us credit for taking this team on because they are a good program and this is their year,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “It was a good challenge for our team. The part to take away from this game is that during the course of the second half, we started to adjust how we play defensively. We are trying to do a better job of taking away shooters. It gave us a different look that we had not practiced. I thought our players made a good adjustment and we are continually getting better.”

It was the first time two Coyote players have scored 20 points in the first game since the road win at Illinois on Dec. 22, 2015.

Arens’ 23 points came on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. She also tallied a team-high three assists.

South Dakota jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the first quarter with six points from Arens. Concordia-St. Paul would close the gap to as small as five points five times between the second and third periods. The Golden Bears shot 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from the field in the second quarter. The Coyotes made it to the free-throw line seven times in the final 1:19 of the third quarter to secure an 18 point lead at 61-43.

Duffy improved her career high by two points by shooting 7-of-14 from the field with a career high six made 3-pointers. She drained one of her triples, despite a hand in her face, with 7:25 to go in the second quarter to end a five minute scoring drought. She also grabbed eight boards and swatted away a pair of steals.

Concordia-St. Paul was led by junior guard Lauren Shifflett with 10 points while Anna Rollag added nine off the bench.

South Dakota freshman guard Madison McKeever reached double figures for the first time in her career with 12 points, a career high five rebounds and three steals. All three of McKeever’s steals were converted into baskets on the other end. The Coyotes accumulated 22 points off Golden Bear turnovers.

Senior forward Bridget Arens and senior center Abigail Fogg were both shy of double figures with eight points apiece. Arens surpassed 500 points for her career on a post move in the paint with 6:16 remaining in the first half. Arens also handed out three assists in the game while Fogg blocked a pair of shots.

The Coyotes outrebounded the Golden Bears 44-24, which led to 19 second-chance points for the Coyotes. Five Coyotes grabbed at least five boards off the glass led by Duffy’s eight. The Golden Bears got seven boards from Kyrah Fredenburg.

South Dakota travels to Wyoming for a 2 p.m. (CT) tip in Laramie. The game marks the final true road game of the non-conference slate for the Coyotes.