Coyote Women Improve to 12-2 Behind Allison Arens



VERMILLION, S.D.–It was the first taste of Summit League action for South Dakota head coach Dawn Plitzuweit, who earned her 200th career win as a head coach, as the Coyotes defeated Denver 70-64 Wednesday night inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.


The Coyotes (12-2, 1-0 Summit) were led by sophomore guard Allison Arens. Arens tallied her first career double-double when she reached for a rebound with 2:24 to play in the first half. She had 10 points and 10 rebounds at that point. Arens’ scoring total would reach 28 points with the help of 12-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. She made a career high 18 from the charity stripe, also breaking a 35-year-old school record, in the game.


Arens’ sister, senior forward Bridget Arens, was the second Coyote in double figures with 12 points and five rebounds.


“I thought tonight was what we were hoping for and really wanting in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center,” Plitzuweit said of the crowd atmosphere. “It got loud tonight. When we were on defense, the fans just took over. They willed our players to get stops. We were able to get multiple defensive stops and rebounds. That was fun to be a part of and we are looking forward to what that atmosphere will be like on Saturday in a rivalry game with South Dakota State.”


Denver (3-11, 0-1 Summit) was led by sophomore guard Samantha Romanowski’s 15 points. The Pioneers also got 12 points from freshman guard Lauren Loven.


South Dakota was just shy of a season low in shooting 39.6 percent (19-of-48) from the field. All 11 of the Coyotes’ offensive rebounds came in the first half as South Dakota outscored Denver 12-0 on second-chance points. Overall, the Coyotes outrebounded the Pioneers 36-25.


The Coyotes’ made 35 trips to the charity stripe and sank 28 attempts, a season high for the team.


South Dakota’s largest lead of the game, 11 points, came with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter off an Arens’ layup. There would be one made field goal by either team in the next five minutes. With both teams in the bonus, there were 18 combined shots from the stripe.


The Pioneers closed the gap to two twice in the fourth quarter, but the Coyotes answered with free throws by Arens and a made basket from senior center Abigail Fogg. Loven hit her third triple of the game with 48 seconds on the clock to bring the Pioneers within four. Denver was forced to foul, but Arens hit six of her free throws down the stretch. Romanowski knocked down a quick 3-pointer with five seconds on the clock to tally the final score of 70-64.


“It was very good for us to be tested,” said Plitzuweit. “We can go back to the drawing board and look at how we can manufacture stops and manufacture scoring. With the free throw situation, there were a lot of stoppages of play. It almost felt like it was a dog fight out there going at it.


“Our players learned a lot from tonight’s game, with different end-of-game situations like this.”


South Dakota hosts rival South Dakota State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. The Coyotes hold a 4-3 lead in this year’s South Dakota Showdown Series headed into Saturday’s matchup.

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