The Coyotes (19-5, 8-3 Summit) traveled to Brookings on Saturday to take on rival South Dakota State (18-5, 9-2 Summit) inside Frost Arena.
After falling behind early, the Coyotes seemed unable to mount any sort of comeback throughout the rest of the game as the final score came to 70-58.
The Jackrabbits defense held strong and the Coyotes were held to as low as 26.7 percent shooting in the third quarter.
Freshman guard Ciara Duffy lead the scoring for the Coyotes with just 11 points, while sophomore guard Allison Arens was held to just six points.
However, Arens surpassed 500 career points with her first bucket on the day.
On the other side of the ball, the Jackrabbits had four players in double digits, including senior center Clarissa Ober having a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Ober did not play in the previous matchup due to an injury sustained on Dec. 21, but proved to be a problem for the Coyotes this time around as the former Summit Defensive Player of the Year not only lead both teams in scoring and rebounding, but also had three steals and a block on the defensive side.
The Coyotes 3-point shooting was shut down by the Jackrabbits, who have the No. 1 3-point defense in the Summit League, by only allowing them to shoot 2-10 in the game.
Along with the low shooting percentages, the Coyotes were also forced into 17 turnovers and were out-rebounded 37-29.
Sophomore guard Jaycee Bradley said the Jackrabbits defensive presence was a big game changer.
“They really took us out of what we wanted to do today,” Bradley said. “Their pressure was something that we tried to adjust to at times, but definitely broke us as well.”
Coyote head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said the inability to consistently make a stop and then score on the other end of the court was a big factor in
“We try to find ways to build some continuity offensively and we just never really got there tonight,” Plitzuweit said. “To their credit, they hung in there and tried to battle back all game and didn’t give up.”
Plitzuweit also spoke about how they have to focus on the next game and see where it leads them.
“We drew a tough schedule to end the season and now we just have to play great basketball,” said Plitzuweit. “The Summit League is the best it has ever been, ranked at 11 in RPI (Rating Percentage Index), so you are going to see a lot of jumble at the top of the standings and that’s what makes it a lot of fun.”
The Coyotes now fall to second place in the Summit League standings while the Jackrabbits take first place.
The Coyotes finish their three game away stretch on Feb. 9 at Fort Wayne.