Coyote women pass their first road test with flying colors


PEORIA, IL (Dakota News Now) – South Dakota received an offensive boost from Alexi Hempe in the first half and cracked down defensively in the second to earn a 71-53 win over Bradley on Sunday at the inside of the Renaissance Coliseum.

It was the first road game of the season for the Coyotes, who went 2-1 under new coach Kayla Karius. Bradley played his first game at home and fell to 0-2. It was the third consecutive season that the two teams had met. South Dakota won all three meetings.

Hempe and Madison Grange scored 16 points apiece and were a combined 7 of 9 from three points to lead South Dakota. Grace Larkins had 13 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and five steals. The Coyotes were 11 of 26 from beyond the arc and shot more than 50 percent from the field.

Bradley got a game-high 17 points from point guard Caroline Waite, but needed 16 shots to get there. Alex Rouse had 12 points. The Braves were held to 33 percent shooting and got just three points from their bench.

Six different Coyotes entered the scoring column early to establish a 15-10 lead with 2:30 to go in the first quarter. But Bradley scored the next 14 points of the game. That run was interrupted by a layup from USD rookie Walker Demers. Ruba Abo Hashesh responded with a 3 to give Bradley their biggest lead at 27-17 with seven minutes left in the first half.

That’s when Hempe turned it on. She had her next five shots and scored 13 points in the first half to help turn a double-digit deficit into a 37-33 halftime lead. She buried two threes, made two layups and hit a reversal jumper. Grange helped the rally with one of his four threes and also drove for a lay-up.

South Dakota pulled out in the second half. The Coyotes held Bradley 1 of 16 from the field in the third quarter and took a 53-39 lead in the fourth. The Braves only managed two points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.

The Coyotes return to Vermillion to host Bellevue Wednesday at 7 p.m. The USD hits the road next Sunday for a non-conference game in St. Louis.

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