Following a win over an AP top-25 opponent in Iowa State Wednesday, the USD women’s basketball team took down mid-major No. 4 Green Bay 55-49 at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Saturday.
Senior guard Allison Arens tallied 18 points–12 coming from the free-throw line– and seven rebounds to lead the Coyotes, ranked sixth in mid-major, to a 7-1 record.
Green Bay (3-4) led the country in defense last season, something that showed in the first half of the game. Both the Coyotes and the Phoenix struggled to score on each other’s suffocating defenses. The first half saw 19 total turnovers and 10-of-44 (23 percent) shooting. The Coyotes held a slim lead 21-19 at the halftime buzzer.
It was a “chess match”, USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said about the battle between her and her former mentor, Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth.
“I think some of the things we worked together for 16 years, five years as a player for him and 11 years as a coach,” Plitzuweit said. “We know specialties and I was trying to figure out what wrinkle he was going to throw in the end, and one of them I didn’t think he was going to throw in he did. It was a little bit like a chess match, he got us on that one. Fortunately, they missed the shot.”
The Coyotes opened up a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, but the Phoenix kept close. They came within three points of the lead multiple times in the fourth quarter, but 11 fourth-quarter points from Arens kept the Coyotes on top. Junior guard Madison McKeever contributed 11 points and redshirt-sophomore forward Hannah Sjerven led the team with 11 rebounds, her second game in a row with at least 10.
“It was a good team effort. They tried to deny our passes. We had really good spacing which allowed for driving opportunities.” Arens said.
Redshirt-junior guard Frankie Wurtz, who scored 16 points off of 5-of-13 shooting, led the Phoenix. The Coyotes won the rebound battle 43-22, and finished with twice as many offensive boards (10) as the Phoenix.
“We worked really hard this week preparing for both of these teams, but we still have to work hard for the next couple games,” McKeever said. “We have to look past these (games) and not get caught up.”
The upcoming slate for the Coyotes includes a trip to Springfield, Missouri to take on Missouri State on Tuesday night. The game is scheduled for 7 pm. The Coyotes next home game is against Bellevue on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.