VERMILLION — Ciara Duffy called it a ‘gut-check win.’

And her teammates and coach agreed.

That was essentially how the South Dakota women’s basketball team described Saturday’s 75-64 come-from-behind Summit League victory over Oral Roberts at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

For basically 38 minutes, the Coyotes (22-3, 10-1) were trying to dig themselves out of a hole — a deficit that was as much as 15.

But then, it all changed.

“These gut-check wins, sometimes they’re not always pretty,” said Duffy, who scored 16 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter to help her team win its ninth striaght game.

“But it’s a test for us. It’s teaching us to rely on each other and trust each other.”

It was a test USD eventually passed.

Oral Roberts’ three-point shooting presented the Coyotes plenty of problems in the first half, as the Golden Eagles were 10-of-16 from deep to help build a 40-33 halftime lead.

South Dakota got to within 54-48 after three quarters, and that’s when Duffy took over.

The junior from Rapid City broke a 63-63 tie with a basket with 1:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, and followed that up with a three-pointer at the 1:08 mark.

In total, Duffy — who was 1-of-5 with two points heading into the fourth quarter — made 5-of-6 shots for 16 points in the final frame.

“It was teammates finding me the openings and getting me the ball,” she said. “And just not wanting to lose, to be honest.”

Duffy did it all, as head coach Dawn Plitzuweit pointed out — she also tacked on nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, and plenty of other big-time plays.

“She was impressive; nothing short of that,” Plitzuweit said. “She has so much toughness and so much composure, and just found a way to will us on both ends.”

The same goes for the entire time, as well, the coach added.

To be able to withstand the three-point barrage from Oral Roberts (13-12, 6-6) and turn the game around showed toughness and composure, according to Plitzuweit.

“We’ve been in situations where we’ve been down before and had to battle back, but this one seemed like a little bigger deficit than some of them,” she said, with a smile.

Either way, it was a challenge that the Coyotes accepted. And they were able to capture their ninth straight win.

“It’s good for us to be in a scenario where we have to will ourselves through it,” Plitzuweit said.

Maya Mayberry led Oral Roberts with 21 points, while KeniJo Lippe added 14 points and eight points — that tandem combined to make 9-of-18 three-pointers.

Sophomore Chloe Lamb added 17 points for the Coyotes, while junior Madison McKeever had 14 points, and Allison Arens recorded seven points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

The Coyotes, according to Lamb, stayed calm throughout the game, even when they were down 15.

“I don’t really know what doesn’t get us rattled,” Lamb said. “We’re calm and cool, and that says a lot about our team.”

The Coyotes are now off until next Saturday when they play Western Illinois out in Macomb.

Follow @jhoeck on Twitter

ORAL ROBERTS (13-12, 6-6)

Montserrat Brotons 3-9 0-0 6; Maya Mayberry 5-18 6-8 21; Jordan Gilbert 1-4 1-1 3; Lakota Beatty 2-6 0-0 6; KeniJo Lippe 4-10 2-2 14; Katie Kirkhart 1-3 0-0 2; Regan Schumacher 3-4 0-0 6; Sarah Garvie 2-5 0-0 6. TOTALS 21-59 9-11 64.

SOUTH DAKOTA (22-3, 10-1)

Taylor Frederick 1-5 5-6 7; Allison Arens 2-9 3-4 7; Chloe Lamb 7-11 0-1 17; Madison McKeever 5-9 2-2 14; Ciara Duffy 6-11 4-4 18; Liv Korngable 0-2 0-0 0; Monica Arens 2-5 1-1 5; Hannah Sjerven 1-3 5-5 7. TOTALS 24-55 20-23 75.

ORAL ROBERTS 22 18 14 10 — 64

SOUTH DAKOTA 12 21 15 27 — 75

Three-Pointers — ORU 13-29 (Mayberry 5-10, Lippe 4-8, Garvie 2-4, Beatty 2-6, Gilbert 0-1), USD 7-22 (Lamb 3-4, McKeever 2-3, Duffy 2-5, Frederick 0-1, Korngable 0-2, M. Arens 0-2, A. Arens 0-5). Total Rebounds — ORU 36 (Lippe 8), USD 34 (A. Arens 10). Assists — ORU 14 (Beatty 6), USD 12 (A. Arens 6). Turnovers — ORU 12, USD 9. Personal Fouls — ORU 23, USD 12. Fouled Out — Brotons, Lippe. Attendance — 2242.


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