After an almost two week hiatus from the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, the Coyotes made their way back to Vermillion after playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis and in the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
The matchup featured the projected Missouri Valley Conference champions in the Northern Iowa Panthers who sat at 1-4 coming into the game.
As for the Coyotes, they won their last game against South Carolina State in the Pentagon 72-52 and came into the match with a record of 4-3.
In the first quarter, the Coyotes were off to a hot start scoring the first seven points of the match, five coming from junior guard Grace Larkins.
The Coyotes extended their lead to 17 at the 4:29 mark in the first quarter after Larkins cashed her second 3-pointer of the game.
Northern Iowa rallied to end the quarter as they went on an 8-1 scoring run to cut the lead down to 8 with the Coyotes leading 26-18.
The Panthers continued their run into the second quarter as they scored the first six points cutting the Coyote lead down to two with 7:08 left in the quarter. They also cut the lead down to one just 40 seconds later.
The Coyotes answered the Panthers six-point run with one of their own pushing the lead up to seven with 5:01 in the quarter. The lead remained between the 6-8 range for the rest of the first half.
The Coyotes went into the half up 40-34 after Larkins hit two free throws.
The lead kept the same for the Coyotes until the 7:12 when junior forward Alexi Hempe drained a 3-pointer which then was extended into three more Coyote points pushing their lead to 11.
To end the quarter, the Coyotes exploded for 12 straight points putting them up 67-44. In the scoring run, the Coyotes hit two 3-pointers, two layups and two free throws.
Starting the fourth quarter, the Coyotes kept their scoring run going as they added four more points putting them up 71-44 with 8:54.
The score remained in the 20’s until the Panthers final basket as junior guard Kayba Laube hit a 3-pointer for the final score of 84-65 in favor of the Coyotes.
The Panthers shot 36.2% from the field in the game as they hit 25 of their 69 shots. They also shot 24.2% (8-33) from 3-point range and 53.8% (7-13) from the free throw line.
Northern Iowa was led by senior forward/center Rachael Heittola as she scored a team high of 15 points coming off the bench. She shot 6-12 from the field, also grabbing three rebounds, dishing out 3 assists and stealing two balls.
Joining Heittola in double-digits was junior guard Maya McDermott as she dropped 11 points as she made three of her 13 shots. She also grabbed a team high of eight rebounds.
As for the Coyotes, they shot 48.3% from the field as they made 29 of their 60 shots. They also made half of their 3-pointers making 10 of the 20 taken. The Coyotes went to the free throw line 23 times making 16 of them.
Larkins led the Coyotes with her season high of 28 points. She also led the team in rebounds and assists with 11 and 6, respectively. This was Larkins first double-double of the season and her ninth in her career.
Joining Larkins in double-figure scoring was junior guard Kendall Holmes with 13 and Hempe coming off the bench with 13.
Following the win, the Coyotes record moves to 5-3 on the season. Their next matchup will be on the road on Sunday, Dec. 3 as they will travel to Los Angeles to play Loyola Marymount at 4 p.m.
Photo Credit: Tavin Carncross | The Volante