The South Dakota Coyotes defeated the Western Illinois Leathernecks yesterday 75-49 in front of over 8,000 fans at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. With the win, USD will face the winner of (3) Kansas City and (6) North Dakota State Monday afternoon at 3:00pm.
True freshman Grace Larkins led all scorers with 23 points on 9-18 shooting. You couldn’t tell at any point that she had never played at the Denny before, and was the spark that USD needed at times to fight off a feisty WIU defense.
A slow start doomed WIU early on, committing four turnovers on the first four possessions of the game. USD capitalized with points each time, scoring 13 of their 28 points off turnovers in the first quarter. Western would play great defense in the first quarter, and while Grace Larkins started off hot, the Leathernecks were able to contain Liv Korngable and Chloe Lamb very well. I’m not forgetting about USD’s great defense either, they were all over WIU, forcing six turnovers in the first quarter and forcing tough shots possession after possession. The Yotes took a 21-15 lead going into the 2nd quarter.
Larkins started off the 2nd quarter with a quick three and USD jumped out to a 24-15 lead. USD got into a rhythm offensively and the defense continued to wreak havoc on Coach JD Gravina’s team. USD held WIU to 11 points in the second quarter on 3-11 shooting and took a 41-26 lead going into the half.
While Chloe and Liv weren’t having their best games (credit to WIU matchups on D), the rest of the Yotes picked up the offense; six different Coyotes scored in the third quarter. Lamb got her first points of the game with a 3-pointer at the 9:30 mark. USD didn’t score for the final 3:11 of the quarter, while WIU took a 6-0 run into the 4th quarter, trailing USD 37-57.
In the 4th quarter, there was no quit from the Leathernecks, which is not surprising at all. Coach Gravina had his defense’s full-court press on all the way until the end. USD would maintain their lead throughout the quarter as Coach P allowed the opportunity for players like Guebert, Hansen, Sankey, Ugofsky, Williston, and Peplowski to get some minutes. USD gets the win and moves on to the semifinals on Monday.
I’d like to congratulate WIU and Coach Gravina on a great season and wish the best to Senior Samantha Pryor, who will be graduating this year. Best of luck to you!
Grace Larkins: 23 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Liv Korngable: 10 points, 4 assists
Hannah Sjerven: 1 points, 8 rebounds
Chloe Lamb: 6 points, 7 rebounds
Danni Nichols: 17 points, 3 rebounds
Evan Zars: 10 points, 5 rebounds
Kennedy Flanagan: 7 points, 4 rebounds