VERMILLION — A physical battle came up just seconds short for the Coyote women.
On Tuesday, the University of South Dakota Coyotes fell to the Oklahoma Sooners 73-71 in season-opening action.
The Coyotes entered Tuesday night’s game as the Summit League’s preseason favorite. The Coyotes are also receiving votes in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coach’s Poll.
The Coyotes got off to a hot start in the first quarter, starting the game off with a 7-0 run before Oklahoma’s Madi Williams scored the Sooners’ first two baskets. The teams traded the lead two times before the quarter was out. The Coyotes escaped the quarter with a one-point lead, up 22-21 on the Sooners.
Chloe Lamb led the scoring for the Yotes after one quarter with 9 points while Williams had 13 of Oklahoma’s opening points.
The second quarter started much the same way with neither team quite able to pull away from the other. The largest deficit either team faced in the quarter was four points with USD trailing the Sooners 37-33 at the end of the first half. Lamb led in scoring for USD at the half with 13 points while Williams led the Sooners with 15 points.
While the lead changed seven times in the first half, USD dominated the time with the lead, holding it for 11:48 of the first two quarters while Oklahoma was up for 4:52. The game was tied six times in the first half.
The Coyotes kept hanging on in the first half of the third quarter. A Liv Korngable 3-pointer with 6:03 left in the quarter even gave USD a 40-39 lead that would prove to be short-lived — and the final lead the Coyotes would hold in the game. Oklahoma finished the quarter up 56-47, at one point holding an 11-point lead over the Coyotes.
However, the Coyotes tried battling back in the fourth quarter. A 7-0 run would bring South Dakota within a score, down only 58-56 with 6:19 left in the game. However, Oklahoma would put themselves up 66-57 with 3:36 left in the game. The Coyotes weren’t going quietly, battling back to tie the game at 71 on a Korngable three-pointer with 14.5 seconds to go.
However, Williams would add two for the Sooners with five seconds remaining, and a failed inbounds pass would end the game 73-71 in favor of the Sooners.
After the game, Korngable said there was one takeaway from Tuesday’s game she admired.
“The game took a lot of our resilience,” she said. “That’s something I’m very proud of this team, that we’re able to be resilient.”
Chloe Lamb said that they had opportunities to take advantage of throughout the game.
“If they’re going to give us open shots, we’re going to take open shots,” she said.
She added playing the Sooners helps prepare them for another familiar opponent.
“Oklahoma’s a big, strong, physical team and we expect nothing less from South Carolina,” she said. “There’s some familiarity there playing them in the last few years.”
Coyotes head coach Dawn Plitzuweit gave praise to the Sooners.
“Oklahoma’s obviously a great basketball team and a storied women’s basketball program,” she said. “Their three All Big XII kids played extremely, extremely well and made a lot of things happen in that game.”
She said she was also proud of how the Coyotes stayed in the fight.
“Things didn’t quite go our way down the stretch in the last two possessions, but I thought our kids battled and we’ll learn from that,” she said. “Our reward is to go on and take on another great basketball team and our reward after that is to take on another great basketball team. That’s just what we face for our entire non-conference.”
Korngable led the Coyotes with 22 points while Williams and Ana Llanusa led the Sooners with 19 points each.
The Coyotes will play number-one ranked University of South Carolina Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
Follow @RobNielsenPandD on Twitter.
Nydia Lampkin 1-5 0-0 2, Kelbie Washington 1-3 0-0 2, Ana Llanusa 7-16 0-0 19, Madi Williams 8-16 2-3 19, Taylor Robertson 5-11 3-4 17, Liz Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Nevaeh Tot 1-4 0-0 2, Skylar Vann 1-3 4-4 6, Kennady Tucker 0-3 0-0 0, Emma Svoboda 3-5 0-0 6. TOTALS: 27-67 9-11 73.
SOUTH DAKOTA (0-1)
Hannah Sjerven 5-9 7-14 18, Liv Korngable 9-15 2-4 22, Chloe Lamb 7-16 2-2 18, Kyah Watson 1-7 0-0 3, Maddie Krull 1-13 2-2 4, Natalie Mazurek 0-2 0-0 0, Jeniah Ugofsky 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Larkins 2-2 0-0 4, Regan Sankey 1-1 0-0 2, Macy Guebert 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS: 26-67 13-22 71.
OKLAHOMA 21 16 19 17 — 73
SOUTH DAKOTA 22 11 14 24 — 71