USD went 5-for-20 shooting in the first quarter and was tied at 10 with Oral Roberts in the Summit League semifinals.
By halftime, the Coyotes held a 20 point 35-15 advantage. USD pulled away for the 65-43 win and advanced to their third straight Summit League championship game.
Hannah Sjerven and Taylor Frederick played vital roles in the Coyotes surge, both offensively and defensively. Sjerven had nine points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 11 minutes of play in the first half. Frederick tallied 10 points and five rebounds in 10 minutes of play.
The Coyote defense held Oral Roberts to 1-for-20 from the field in the second quarter. Oral Roberts head coach Misti Cussen said it wasn’t that the Coyotes did anything differently defensively, rather her team couldn’t make shots.
“We missed a lot of shots,” Cussen said. “We had 20 shots that included 11 threes. In fact, that was too many threes as far as I was concerned.”
The second half was much of the same for USD, dominant play inside and strong defense on the other end. The Coyotes totaled 44 points in the paint, to just 43 points for the game for Oral Roberts. USD forced 18 turnovers but only managed 14 points off turnovers.
Oral Roberts shot 21.4% (12-56) from the field compared to 39.7% (27-68) for the Coyotes.
Frederick led the Coyotes with 16 points and six rebounds. Sjerven contributed a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Sjerven also collected seven blocks. Sjerven’s 13 rebounds and seven blocks tied career highs for her.
“We knew they’re a really good team,” Frederick said. “The last time we played them, they played really well and they didn’t give us a lot inside. We wanted to keep taking it to them.”
Ciara Duffy had an off-day, shooting 5-for-14 from the field, but tallied 10 points.
Keni Jo Lippe led Oral Roberts with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.
“As a player, that’s something that I’ve always prided myself on being able to do the small things and try to do the little details right,” Lippe said.
The Coyotes face the South Dakota State Tuesday at 1 p.m. in the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. The Jackrabbits defeated NDSU to make it to the championship game.