Four Coyotes scored in double figures as South Dakota defeated Oral Roberts 73-68 in a tough second-half comeback inside the Mabee Center on Wednesday night.
South Dakota (14-5, 5-0 Summit) keeps pace atop the Summit League standings and reaches 5-0 in conference play for the first time in a decade, dating back to the Coyotes’ unbeaten run through the North Central Conference in 2007-08. Oral Roberts (11-8, 3-3) falls to the Coyotes for the fifth consecutive time.
“I thought our team showed toughness and resiliency on the road today in a difficult environment,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Oral Roberts is a talented, skilled basketball team that is well-coached and plays really hard. Our players stepped up and found a way to win tonight.”
Junior guard Allison Arens led the way with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the game. Arens scored 13 of her points in the first half to keep the Coyotes within five at the break.
Senior guard Jasmine Trimboli added 15 points with a pair of steals. Sophomore guard Madison McKeever scored 14 points, swiped five steals, grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists. Four of McKeever’s assists came in the second half with three in the final quarter. Sophomore guard Ciara Duffy scored all 11 of her points in the second half to reach double digits.
Oral Roberts was led by KeniJo Lippe’s 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting with 16 points in the second half alone. Junior forward Maria Martianez added 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. Senior forward Faith Ihim was the third Golden Eagle in double figures with 10.
The Golden Eagles, who held opponents to 38 percent from the floor entering tonight’s game, allowed just two Coyote baskets in the first quarter. South Dakota began to find its rhythm in the second period as the Coyotes matched the Golden Eagles in scoring. Oral Roberts led 34-29 at the half led by Martianez with 12.
South Dakota ended the third-quarter on a 9-0 run, capped off by a steal and 3-point play by McKeever. The Coyotes trailed 52-49 at the end of the third, but tied it up in the first minute of the fourth period as Trimboli knocked down a 3-pointer.
The Coyotes took their first lead of the game with 6:44 remaining as McKeever had yet another steal and score to put the Coyotes up 58-56. The Golden Eagles tied it up again at 61 with a 3-pointer from Lippe. Both programs traded baskets for the next two minutes until a reverse layup by Duffy gave USD a 70-68 lead with 42 seconds remaining. South Dakota forced a jump ball and free throws by Duffy and McKeever put the game away.
South Dakota completed the first successful second-half comeback by a Golden Eagles opponent this season. Oral Roberts is 11-1 when leading at the half.
Additionally, the Coyotes are just the second team to shoot above 50 percent against the Golden Eagles this season. South Dakota finished at 55.3 percent (26-of-47) from the floor with the help of 77 percent shooting in the second half.
Oral Roberts outrebounded South Dakota 29-22, yet the Golden Eagles only scored seven second-chance points on 11 offensive boards.
The Coyotes return home to host Omaha inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center at 1 p.m. Saturday.