Coyote women top Jackrabbits to win regular season title
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Coyote women top Jackrabbits to win regular season title

The Coyotes women’s basketball team secured the Summit League regular season title with a 77-67 victory over South Dakota State on Saturday afternoon at Frost Arena in Brookings.

Chloe Lamb gave the Coyotes (26-2, 15-0 conf.) a burst in the first quarter with three 3-pointers. Lamb has scored 41 points in her last two games in Frost Arena.

“She’s clutch, I’ll say it for her because she won’t,” Ciara Duffy said. “She’s too humble. She steps up in big games, that’s the reality.”

SDSU (20-9, 12-3) hung around in the first quarter, but a strong second quarter from Duffy and Hannah Sjerven put the Coyotes in from 35-26 at the half.

The Coyote offense slowed down in the third quarter, with the Jackrabbits opening up on a 6-2 run, cutting the Coyote lead to five. Paiton Burckhard converted a jumper with two seconds left in the quarter to make it 52-45.

USD grew the lead to 15 in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Lamb added seven more points in the run.

The Jackrabbits responded with a run of their own to cut the lead to six at 69-63 with 1:42 to play off a Tagyn Larson 3-pointer. Tylee Irwin hit a shot with 45 seconds left to keep the lead at six after Monica Arens’ free throws extended the lead back out to eight.

The Coyotes struggled to break the press when the Jackrabbits started applying it with three minutes left. The Coyotes burned a timeout to try and set up a play to get across the halftime line, then was unable to do so and committed a 10-second violation.

“We knew we were going to have to fight every possession, every minute of the game,” Lamb said. “Hopefully we made some adjustments.”

Madison McKeever hit free throws down the stretch to keep the Coyotes in front. Lamb tallied 22 points to lead the Coyotes. McKeever contributed 19 points and Duffy 17 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Taylor Frederick came off the bench to score 10 points. McKeever was 7-for-10 from the free throw line.

On Senior Day for the Jackrabbits, Larson, Rylie Cascio Jensen and Megan Bultsma were honored prior to the game. Cascio Jensen played 37 minutes tallying nine points and four assists. Bultsma came off the bench to scored two points in 16 minutes of action. Larson led the Jackrabbits with 18 points and nine rebounds.

“I thought USD played a great game and I thought we did as well,” Larson said. “In the end they just made more plays than us and next time we’re just going to have more energy and more focus.”

The Coyotes take on North Dakota to wrap up their regular season Saturday, Feb. 28. The Coyotes will honor seniors McKeever, Duffy, Frederick and Megan Bonar prior to the game at 1 p.m.