The University of South Dakota women’s basketball team has now won seven of its last eight games after a Saturday victory.
South Dakota sophomore Margaret McCloud came off the bench to score 17 points and sophomore point guard Tia Hemiller registered her first collegiate double-double as the Coyotes(9-6) beat Cleveland State 74-70 Saturday night inside the DakotaDome.
McCloud’s 17 points were one shy of her career high. She made all five shots she took in the second half and finished 8 of 11 overall.
Hemiller’s line read 13 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals. The 10 rebounds and five assists were career highs. She had 10 points and seven boards at the break, when USD led 34-28.
Cleveland State junior Kiersten Green led all scorers with 26 points on 11 of 15 shooting. Fourteen of her points came in the second half. Junior Cori Coleman added 17 points and eight rebounds and junior Imani Gordon had 12 rebounds to go with seven points for the Vikings.
Saturday’s game was a rematch of last season’s opener in which Cleveland State won 60-46 in Ohio. The Coyotes nearly led this one from start to finish. Their largest lead was 51-41 with 13:08 to go in the second half.
The Vikings got within three at 59-56 with six minutes to go. McCloud and Polly Harrington scored buckets in the paint and Jaylah Jackson knocked down two free throws to complete a 6-0 run. Harrington and Jackson had 10 and six points, respectively. Raeshel Contreras also scored in double figures for the Coyotes with 15 points.
USD missed six of 10 free throws in the final minute, but Cleveland State was unable to make it a one-possession game. Jackson made one of two free throws with four seconds left to seal the win. The Coyotes were 15 of 27 from the free-throw line for 55 percent.
South Dakota had a distinct size advantage against a Cleveland State team that counters its size with long-range shooting. The Coyotes out-rebounded the Vikings 42-33 and scored 27 second-chance points with McCloud and Harrington doing much of the damage. The Vikings had made at least 10 three pointers in three of their last four games, but were 8 of 27 from beyond the arc Saturday for 29 percent.