March 30, 2016 was the night the USD women’s basketball team caught fire. The Coyotes came out against Pac-12 opponent Oregon and opened the flood gates.
USD took down the Ducks 88-54, in part due to extraordinary 71 percent shooting from deep and 54 percent shooting from the field.
After the first few possessions of the ball game went back and forth with no score, the Coyotes got on the board and ran with it, ending the first quarter up 19-9. From there the Coyotes just kept pounding. They went into halftime with a comfortable 39-25 lead. Many teams cool down during the halftime break, but the Coyotes were just getting started.
USD outscored Oregon 29-7 in the third quarter and the crowd of 5,060 absolutely loved it. That crowd marked the largest the Dome has seen this season for men or women. In the fourth quarter the Ducks managed some ground back, outscoring USD 22-20, but the damage was done. The Coyotes’ incredible shooting night was capped off when senior Tia Hemiller hit a one-handed three from nearly half court as the shot clock expired. The Coyotes coasted to the final score of 88-54.
It was a true team effort for South Dakota. Twelve players scored and six scored in double figures. Senior Kelly Stewart and junior Abigail Fogg were the leaders with 14 points. The other double-figure scores were Hemiller with 13, junior Caitlin Duffy with 12 on 4-5 shooting from deep, junior Jasmine Trimboli with 11 and senior Nicole Seekamp with 10. Hemiller and Seekamp both tallied six assists as well.
The leading scorer for the Ducks was junior Jacinta Vandenberg. She scored 17 points and grabbed five boards. Sophomore Lexi Bando also had a big game, scoring 15 points.
South Dakota dominated nearly every facet of the game. They rebounded better (38-21), they assisted better (23-13) and they shot from deep better. USD made 15-21, while the Ducks, the number one three-point shooting team in the country, made 5-14.
The Coyotes now move on to the WNIT Final Saturday. They will play the winner of the Michigan and Florida Gulf Coast game, which takes place tomorrow night. USD will host the game, in part due to the stellar attendance over the course of the tournament. Tip-off time is set for 2 p.m. in what will truly be the final game in the DakotaDome.