The Summit League-leading South Dakota Coyotes women’s basketball team came to Macomb this weekend for a two-game series against Western Illinois. The Coyotes were able to come away with both games, taking the first by a score of 73-56 and winning the second 61-56.
In the first game, reigning Summit League player of the week, Evan Zars put up 12 points and 12 rebounds in route to her second straight double-double while Elizabeth Lutz recorded a career-high seven steals. However, Western was plagued by turnovers, turning the ball over 25 times with South Dakota scoring 24 points off of them.
The first quarter was very competitive, seeing several ties and lead changes. The Leathernecks made three shots from behind the arc in the quarter and the game was tied at 15 after the first frame. South Dakota was able to take control in the second quarter. The Coyotes shot 60 percent from the floor and were 6-7 from the free throw line. South Dakota took a 41-31 lead into the break. Western came out of half time and got off to a slow start in the third quarter. The Coyotes outscored the Leathernecks 20-7 as Western shot 1-8 from the floor. The Leathernecks were able to find their rhythm in the fourth quarter. The Necks hit a couple of three pointers and added six from the free throw line, but it was too little too late as South Dakota hung on to win 73-56.
The second game was very competitive and came down to the last minute. Danni Nichols led Western Illinois in scoring with 19 and was one rebound short of a double-double. Hannah Sjerven of South Dakota had a double-double of her own with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The first quarter was a defensive battle as both teams struggled to find their stride offensively. After a quarter where both teams scored just nine points, Western Illinois exploded on offense. Western shot 60 percent from the field, including 4-8 from deep. Western took a 32-24 lead to the locker room at half. The third quarter was the Coyotes’ turn to get hot. South Dakota shot 8-12 and outscored Western Illinois 20-14. The Coyotes took the lead 53-52 with 47 seconds left off a bucket from Sjerven. South Dakota was able to knock down all eight of their free throws down the stretch and come away with the 61-56 victory.
The Leathernecks fell to 3-12 while South Dakota improved to 10-3. Western will travel to North Dakota next week to take on the Fighting Hawks.