(From the USD sports desk)
VERMILLION, S.D.—A 12-point first quarter lead gave South Dakota the advantage in a 65-58 victory over Houston on Thursday night inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. The Coyotes advance to the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament where they will host Colorado State at 1 p.m. Sunday.
It was a well-rounded night of scoring for the Coyotes. Arens and sophomore guard Ciara Duffy were both shy of double-doubles. Arens tallied 10 points and nine boards with a pair of assists. Duffy scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out three assists. Junior guard Jaycee Bradley led the group with 12 points, while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out two assists. McKeever joined the group in double figures with 10 points, four steals and three assists. Both Bradley and McKeever are climbing USD’s charts in respective categories of 3-pointers made and steals. Bradley sits fourth for career 3-pointers made with 185. McKeever moved to eighth for steals in a single season tonight, tallying 75 on the year.
Houston was led by Hawkins’ double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds. Eight of her 16 boards were on the offensive glass with six coming in the second half. Harris added 15 points and six rebounds while Julia Blackshell-Fair also reached double digits with 11 points and six boards.
South Dakota senior guard Jasmine Trimboli and senior center Kate Liveringhouse added nine and eight points, respectively. The Coyotes knocked down 43.1 percent (25-of-58) of their shots in the game, shooting 80 percent in the fourth quarter and 61.5 percent in the first.
The Cougars made 33.3 percent (20-of-60) from the floor. South Dakota outscored Houston 20-12 in points-off turnovers, although the Cougars capitalized 11-3 in second-chance points. Houston grabbed 46 rebounds to USD’s 34 with 17 offensive boards.