DeKALB — The second day of the Huskies’ back-to-back games at the South Point Shootout was nowhere near as graceful as the first. The women’s basketball team suffered from a 91-48 loss Saturday to the University of South Dakota.
The Coyotes had the hot hand all game Saturday. The team led wire-to-wire, shooting 52% from the field, hitting 17 3-point shots, something Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said she was not surprised about.
“They shot the three really well [and] came out right away from the three point line,” Carlsen said. “Once you let them get into a rhythm it’s hard to slow them down.”
Four players posted double-digit points, including senior guard Madison McKeever and junior center Hannah Sjerven with 14 points apiece. McKeever scored all of her points in the first half, sinking four shots from behind the 3-point line.
South Dakota is 7-1 this season and has beaten three opponents by double digits. The Coyotes also posted 52 points in the first half, their most in a half this season.
The Huskies’ offense struggled to find a rhythm all game, shooting only 34% from the field. NIU was not able to find much help from behind the arc either, hitting only eight shots from distance. NIU struggled to keep possession of the ball, recording 16 turnovers.
Carlsen gave credit to the Coyotes defense for denying easy shots. South Dakota limited NIU’s scoring opportunities in transition, which Carlsen said is “who they are” when on offense.
First-year guard Chelby Koker had a game-high 17 points, breaking her previous high in just one day. She was the only Huskie with double-digit points, scoring 15 from behind the 3-point line. Sophomore forward Mikayla Brandon joined Koker as the only other Huskie to hit a 3-point shot, burying three shots of her own from a distance.
The Coyotes got off to a hot start with a 12-0 scoring run to put the team up 15 points in the first quarter. During that run, McKeever hit two 3-point shots, giving South Dakota a 17-2 lead.
In the second quarter, South Dakota went on another scoring run to put the Coyotes up 27 points. McKeever scored her last eight points during an 11-2 scoring run, extending the score to 40-13.
The second half was the same story, as the hot-shooting Coyotes never let up. South Dakota’s bench got involved to help carry their team the victory. First-year guard Macy Guebert scored 13 points in the second half to keep the game out of reach.
“We tried to change defenses a little,” Carlsen said. “[When] a team as good as South Dakota is firing on all cylinders, it’s hard to win.”