USD women pull away from Denver for bounce-back win

Jan. 25—VERMILLION — South Dakota women's basketball pulled away for a 78-70 win over Denver at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Thursday night.

Leading 61-59 with 5 minutes to play, the Coyotes used a 17-11 run to end the game. Kendall Holmes provided a big lift, burying a 3-pointer with 4:48 remaining to take a five-point lead, then adding another one with 1:31 to play to take an eight-point lead.

South Dakota shot 81.8 percent from the field in the final quarter, and Holmes finished with a game-high 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Natalie Mazurek came off the bench to pitch in 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and despite a quiet night from Grace Larkins, who scored eight points, and added four rebounds and four assists, USD (14-7) improved to 3-3 in Summit League play.

The Coyotes started the game hot, lunging out to a 23-8 lead after the first quarter, but the Pioneers drug themselves back into it by outscoring USD 24-10 in the second quarter. Both sides scored 15 points in the third quarter, setting up a compelling 10-minute finale.

A trio of Denver (4-15, 1-5 Summit) players finished with double digits, as Jordan Jones scored 18 points, Emma Smith had 14 points and Emily Counsel added 11 points. For the game, the Pioneers shot 46.7 percent from the field, while the Coyotes were 52.7 percent shooting.

USD will continue its homestand with a game against Kansas City at 2 p.m. Saturday in Vermillion.