VERMILLION — South Dakota needed a little more time to get going in the second of back-to-back matchups with Denver.

USD started to pull away in the second quarter, then stepped on the gas in the second half of an 89-74 victory over the Pioneers in Summit League women’s basketball action.

Hannah Sjerven scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead USD (6-3, 2-0 Summit). Chloe Lamb scored 24 points, hitting 4-of-6 from three-point range, and recorded five assists. Liv Korngable netted 10 points. Maddie Krull added six assists.

For Denver (2-8, 0-2 Summit), Uju Ezeudu set a program record with 16 made free throws on the way to a team-high 22 points. Meghan Boyd finished with 18 points and five assists. Claire Gritt scored nine points off the bench. Jasmine Jeffcoat added eight rebounds.

In Saturday’s meeting, USD led 25-8 after one quarter on the way to an 87-47 victory. On day two, though, USD led 23-16 after one quarter, and the Pioneers trailed by just five, 25-20, early in the second period.

“It’s certainly an incredible challenge, from day one to day two,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “This was an opportunity for us to understand that day one doesn’t necessarily depict where day two will go.”

Then the Coyotes went to work.

USD closed the half with a 17-3 surge and outscored the Pioneers 39-20 to start the second half to stretch the margin to 35, 81-46, early in the fourth quarter.

USD’s second half start was aided by freshman Natalie Mazurek, who scored six of her eight points in the third quarter.

“Natalie played very well today,” Plitzuweit said. “Today you got to see what she can bring to the table.”

Denver closed the game on a 28-8 run, aided by 14 made free throws.

“Today we wanted to improve on defense, improve on playing without fouling,” Sjerven said. “Those are some things we can continue to work on.”

USD now turns its attentions to Kansas City. The Coyotes will head south to face the Kangaroos Jan. 8-9.

Denver has a bye in league play this week. The Pioneers return to the floor Jan. 15-16 at home against Oral Roberts.

DENVER (2-8)

Uju Ezeudu 3-5 16-19 22, Jasmine Jeffcoat 1-4 0-0 3, Meghan Boyd 6-17 3-5 18, Anna Jackson 2-8 0-0 6, Tsimba Malonga 2-4 1-1 6, Claire Gritt 3-9 0-0 9, Emily Counsel 2-5 0-0 6, Sam Deem 2-3 0-0 4. TOTALS: 21-55 20-25 74.

SOUTH DAKOTA (6-3)

Jeniah Ugofsky 1-1 0-0 2, Hannah Sjerven 12-18 1-3 25, Liv Korngable 5-10 0-0 13, Chloe Lamb 7-12 6-6 24, Maddie Krul 1-7 0-0 2, Claudia Kunzer 2-3 0-0 5, Morgan Hansen 2-8 0-0 6, Natalie Mazurk 4-5 0-1 8, Macy Guebert 0-4 0-0 0, Allison Peplowski 1-1 0-0 2, Alexi Hempe 1-1 0-0 2, Regan Sankey 0-0 0-0 0, Aspen Williston 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 36-70 7-10 89.

DENVER 16 10 20 28 — 74

SOUTH DAKOTA 23 19 31 16 — 89

Three-Pointers: DU 12-27 (Boyd 3-9, Gritt 3-5, Jackson 2-4, Counsel 2-3, Malonga 1-2, Ezeudu 0-1), SD 10-26 (Lamb 4-6, Korngable 3-5, Hansen 2-6, Kunzer 1-2, Sjerven 0-1, Krull 0-2, Guebert 0-4). Rebounds: SD 38 (Sjerven 9), DU 33 (Jeffcoat 8). Personal Fouls: SD 22, DU 17. Fouled Out: None. Assists: SD 25 (Krull 6), DU 12 (Boyd 5). Turnovers: DU 14, SD 8. Steals: SD 5, DU 3. Blocked Shots: SD 2 (Sjerven 2), DU 1.

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