The Coyotes split their weekend after defeating Omaha 61-41 on Thursday and fell to Denver 74-79 on Saturday.
On Thursday, the Coyotes hosted the Omaha Mavericks.
It took nearly three minutes for the Coyotes to put points on the board after sophomore forward Morgan Hansen made a 3-pointer to tie the game at three.
The teams combined for shooting 6-24 (25%) from the field in the first quarter as the Coyotes finished the quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 12-6.
Building off of that 6-0 run, the Coyotes scored 13 unanswered points to go up 25-6.
The Mavericks rallied back and outscored the Coyotes in the remainder of the quarter, 12-4, to send the game into halftime with the score of 29-18, in favor of the Coyotes.
Omaha slashed the 11-point lead down to five at the 6:36 mark in the third quarter 31-26.
South Dakota pulled away, extending their lead to 13 points after sophomore guard Nicole Avila-Ambrosi made a jump shot at the buzzer to send USD to the fourth quarter on top 44-31.
Avila-Ambrosi picked up where she left off, as she scored the first two points in the fourth quarter, making two free throws.
The free-throw line was a popular spot for South Dakota as 11 of their 17 fourth quarter points occurred at the charity stripe helping them to a 61-41 win over the Mavericks.
The Coyotes shot the ball 45.2% from the field compared to the Mavericks 25.5%. USD also ended the day with more steals 15 compared to five.
Sophomore guard Grace Larkins led the Coyotes in scoring with 14 points. She also compiled nine rebounds and six steals in the win. She was joined by two others in double digit scoring in freshman center Walker Demers (11) and Avila-Ambrosi (10).
Omaha’s sophomore guard Kennedi Grant led the game in scoring with 21 points going 7-13 from the field. Omaha’s leading scorer on the season, averaging 13.8 points heading into the game, graduate student center Elena Pilakouta was held to just two points, her lowest scoring total since Dec. 11.
On Saturday, the Coyotes held their senior day against the Denver Pioneers where they honored three seniors: guard Macy Guebert, forward Jeniah Ugofsky and forward Allison Peplowski. This was also the Coyotes annual Pink Game where USD athletics promotes breast cancer awareness.
Denver’s junior guard Emily Counsel kicked off the game’s scoring after making a jump shot on the opening possession.
The teams traded the lead in the first quarter as redshirt freshman forward Carley Duffney made a shot late to tie the game at 16.
Denver responded as freshman guard Angelina Robles made a layup with five seconds to go to give the Pioneers a 18-16 lead heading into the second quarter.
Duffney scored the first three points in the second quarter giving the Coyotes back the lead, 19-16.
The Coyotes outscored the Pioneers 25-16 in the second quarter to enter halftime with a seven-point lead, 41-34.
After Demers gave USD their biggest lead of the game at 10, Denver quickly worked it down to three points at the 7:31 mark in the third quarter.
South Dakota was able to extend their lead back to seven as they led 61-54 through three quarters.
It didn’t take long for Denver to not only tie the game at 65-65, but to take the lead 69-65 after going on a 15-2 run to start the final quarter.
The Coyotes tied the game with 1:12 left but Denver was able to close out the game making four-consecutive free throws to win 79-74.
Duffney led the Coyotes in scoring with 20 points, 10 of which came from the free-throw line. Larkins ended the day with a double-double as she scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Guebert fouled out on senior day ending the day with five assists and three rebounds in her 27 minutes play.
Denver’s graduate student forward Mikayla Brandon ended with a game-high 25 points while also compiling nine rebounds and four assists. She was joined by two others in double-digit scoring in freshman guard Emma Smith (23) and graduate student guard Ally Haar (13).
Denver made 49.1% of their shots compared to South Dakota’s 44.4%. USD shot 29.1% in the fourth quarter.
South Dakota falls to 8-8 in conference play, keeping them in a tie for fourth with Oral Roberts.
South Dakota will end the season on the road as they face Oral Roberts on Thursday (Feb. 23) and Kansas City on Saturday (Feb. 25).