USD pulled through to defeat Western Illinois 92-81 after back and forth turnovers by both the Coyotes and Leathernecks, Thursday night in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
Thursday’s game featured PAVE, a student-led group promoting awareness and victim empowerment, to raise awareness and education about sexual assault. The first 200 students through the door were given free PAVE T-shirts and free wings at halftime as part of a partnership with ICARE, and Coyote Athletics.
The first quarter saw the Coyotes with a strong defense and offense, and put them up 19-14. The second quarter, the Coyotes were up almost 20 points.
The Leathernecks drove back in the second half, even closing the gap at one point by three points in the fourth quarter. The Coyotes had a turnover and outscored the Leathernecks by 11 points to end with 92-81.
Highest scorer for the Coyotes was junior Jaycee Bradley with 21 points, followed by redshirt senior Jasmine Trimboli with 17 and senior Kate Liveringhouse with 15. Top scorer for the Leathernecks was Taylor Higginbotham with 28 followed by Emily Clemens with 21.
Junior Allison Arens said at a press conference the Coyotes had a lot of ups and downs during the game.
“I thought we started off the gaming playing some solid defense, and toward the end I think they got a little hot on us and we needed to adjust quicker to what they were doing and we didn’t quite do that right away,” Arens said.
Head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said the key point of transition was during the three-point gap.
“It took us some time to get things in rhythm, and when we did, we felt a lot more comfortable,” Plitzuweit said.
Trimboli said the Leathernecks were a challenge because of their multiple three-pointers and fast defense.
“It was hard to play against a team like that — they’re really quick in transition,” she said. “We practiced quite a lot of defense and transition, making sure that when we run back, we know where their shooters are at and try to not make them shoot.”
Overall, Plitzuweit said the Coyotes came out strong against the Leatherneck’s tough defense.
“They (Leathernecks) have lineups where it’s really tough to guard them,” she said. “It was a great college basketball game to be a part of.”
The Coyote women remain undefeated in the Summit League Tournament. They take on North Dakota State University on Saturday in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, and tip-off starts at 1 p.m.