“It was a big fight for us today,” senior Pam January said. “I think that’s going to be how it is from here on out.”
It was a tough first half for the Coyotes. While they started off the game with the lead, it quickly slipped away from the team, until Heidi Hoff drilled a three pointer with 2:25 left in the half, giving USD a one-point advantage. The basket was met with a jumper from Western Illinois, tying the game at 29. But, a last second basket by January gave the Coyotes a lead at halftime, 31-29.
Senior Tempestt Wilson scored 10 first-half points and pulled down three rebounds for the Coyotes. Hoff added five points and two assists and January put up four points for the team.
Michelle Maher scored 11 points for Western Illinois, with Ashley Luke adding six points and six rebounds for the Leathernecks.
It was a tight second with the score tied three times as well as eight different lead changes. However, Wilson took control of the game after knocking down a pair of free throws followed by a steal and another set of free throws and then a three pointer. It was enough to give the Coyotes the win by a score of 71-67.
Wilson lead scoring with 24 total points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Nicole Seekamp added 19 points and three steals for the Coyotes, and junior Polly Harrington scored eight points and had one steal.
Luke scored 16 points for Western Illinois, Maher added 15 points and four assists for the Leathernecks and Jackie Rieger scored 11 points and had seven rebounds for the team.
Head coach Amy Williams said the five seniors honored for senior day – Alexis Yackley, January, Sam Mehr, Wilson and McKayla Knigfaug – were a huge factor in the win.
“Pam came into the game and gave us a spark. And then Mehr came into the game and hit those two threes which were huge for us,” Williams said. “Those four who got to suit up and play played like seniors should play today.”
The team has one more game against Omaha Thursday night and then has a week off before the Summit League Playoffs, which begin March 9.
“We’ve had some ups and downs,” Yackley said. “But, right now we want to be playing our best basketball leading up to the Summit.”