Head coach Dawn Plitzuweit earned her sixth win over a Power 5 program with USD as the Coyotes defeated Missouri of the SEC 72-56 in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Thursday.
“I’m really proud of our young ladies,” Plitzuweit said after the victory. “I think they played with an incredible amount of intensity, and incredible amount of urgency and played with some very good poise. It was a great crowd, it was a fun basketball game and I thought our fans gave us a big boost and a lot of energy on the defensive end of things.”
This is USD’s second straight victory over a Power 5 conference school, with their last win coming against the PAC 12’s Utah.
Unlike the rest of the Coyote’s victories, which had all been decided by eight or fewer points, the outcome was not in question late as USD led 49-40 heading into the fourth and gained an 18-point lead within the quarter.
Junior guard Monica Arens led the way with a career-high 18 points while also ripping down six boards and shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
“Monica is playing extremely well and extremely hard and we count on her a lot defensively at the same time,” Plitzuweit said. “I think she’s continuing to get more and more comfortable and more confident and she is just making some really good reads.”
Senior guard Ciara Duffy led all Coyotes with 37 minutes on the court, producing 13 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Senior guard Madison McKeever and junior center Hannah Sjerven compiled nine points each for the game.
Senior forward Taylor Frederick led all Coyote off the bench with 11 points and five rebounds. Plitzuweit said she was happy with the boost her bench players provided.
“I thought we got some really important minutes during the course of the game from our bench,” Plitzuweit said. “I think they have an opportunity to see the game and see what’s going on and they have great intensity and great energy so it’s a huge boost for us.”
The Coyotes played much more efficiently than the Tigers throughout the contest, converting on 47 percent of their field goals and exactly half of their three-point attempts (11-22), while Missouri shot 34 percent from the field and only 31 percent from deep.
The Coyotes return to the Sanford Coyote Sports Center to face arguably their toughest opponent yet as they welcome #22 ranked Missouri State at 7 p.m. on Monday.