South Dakota Heats Up in Second Half to Pull Away from Bison Women
Release: March 10, 2013
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.--South Dakota went on an 18-0 run in the second half and advanced to semifinals of The Summit League Basketball Tournament with a 73-53 victory over North Dakota State Sunday, March 10, at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The Coyotes (16-14) will play IUPUI (20-10) in the 2:30 game Monday. USD defeated IUPUI twice during the regular season.
After trailing 28-26 at halftime, the Bison controlled the early minutes of the second half, opening a 35-30 lead when Liz Keena scored with 16:43 to play, which was NDSU's last field goal until the 8:37 mark.
Meanwhile, USD took charge, pushing its lead to 48-35 on a basket by Tempestt Wilson. NDSU ended USD string with a pair of free throws by Keena but the Coyotes built their lead to 22 on a three-point basket by Heidi Hoff which made it 73-51 with 42 seconds to play.
The Coyotes had four players in double figures: Wilson with 15 points and seven rebounds; Nicole Seekamp with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists; Sam Mehr with 14 points and Margaret McCloud with 10 points and six rebounds. USD's bench accounted for 30 points.
NDSU's Katie Birkel took game scoring honors with 20 points, hitting four three-pointers. The only other player in double figures for the Bison was Dani DeGagne with 12. She also had nine rebounds.
South Dakota shot 44 percent (28-of-63) from the field with nine three-pointers while North Dakota State shot 32 percent (22-of-68). USD also had a 45-40 rebounding advantage.
NDSU ends its season 10-19.
--South Dakota's win marks the third consecutive time that a team won its debut at The Summit League Women's Tournament. Current league members are 5-3 in their initial tournament games.
--The top-four seeds advanced to the semifinals for the third time in the last five years.
--Katie Birkel moved into, third place in three-point attempts, fourth in three-pointers made and eighth place in scoring all-time at North Dakota State.
--The Bison set a school record for turnover average in a season at 13.3 per game. The old record was 13.9 in 1994-95.
South Dakota head coach Amy Williams
"We are so excited to be part of this tournament for the first time; and then to step up and get a win like that and have a lot of people contribute is just a great team win. Especially in the second half, our team committed to the things we need to be successful which is defending and rebounding. Certainly, we had some players step up and make some big plays and I couldn't be more proud of them."
on winning the first Summit League Tournament game
"It is a very big deal. When I think about it, I am kind of feel humbled to think about the coaches that have come before me and the way some didn't get the opportunity to participate in this tournament. And, the players, great players like Amber Hegge, Jodie Boss and Annie Roche - those kids that we lost to graduation a year ago – that didn't get the opportunity to be here playing in this tournament. We certainly we are trying to cherish it not only for our own experience but for all the people that came before us that have paved the way for us to be here."
on the timeout down 35-30 and ensuing 18-0 run
"Certainly, we talked about locking down, buckling down defensively, continue to work on the boards and just be aggressive. The big message in that huddle was I thought we were being passive and that is not South Dakota basketball. That does not win you games at this time of year. We need to be aggressive and continue to attack and have that mentality on both ends of the floor."
on Nicole Seekamp's play during the 18-0 run
"She was certainly locked in there. We switched to a zone defense. We practiced all week that we needed her to step up defensively. She got a couple of big steals and sparked us defensively. She was also aggressive offensively and took that message of attack and really sparked us."
on Sam Mehr
"I couldn't be more proud of Sam (Mehr). She is a kid that hasn't had much playing time her whole career. She has stayed ready all the time. She is in the gym, taking extra shots; she stays in shape and is ready to go. Now, when her number is called and she has gotten the opportunity, she has been really stepping up at the tail end of her career. I couldn't be happier for her. It (her play) certainly provides more depth and gives us one more threat on the perimeter. It makes us a little more difficult to defend when she makes a shot."
South Dakota guard Tempestt Wilson
on USD's decisive 18-0 run
"After the timeout, we basically picked up the defense and out-rebounded them."
on meaning of playing in 1st Summit League Tournament
"It is exciting. All of us at South Dakota having been waiting for so long and we are finally here. We are just trying to play to our best of our ability and doing what we can. We are just really excited to be here."
South Dakota forward Nicole Seekamp
on runs – specifically 18-0 run in 2nd half
"Well I think the main thing we focused on the whole season was our defense. That certainly picked up in the second half and that led us to that 18-0 run. We had pressure, ran the ball and we had people step up and do things they are capable of doing – like Sam (Mehr) making big shots and Tempestt (Wilson) making big shots as well as some of the freshman doing what they can do."
on meaning of playing in 1st Summit Tournament
"Obviously it means a lot. I have never experienced this before, and it is the just as important for these seniors (Wilson, Mehr), and we wanted to go out with a bang. We didn't want to finish that way (with a loss) because I wanted to play a few more games with these two (Wilson, Mehr)."
on slowing down Katie Birkel who had big first half
"Obviously, she had a big first half and she was doing everything. I just thought we were made aware of where she was (on the floor) at all times. It wasn't just Lex (Alexis Yackley) playing defense on her, it was the whole team. We had to know where she was and stopping her; she is one of their main cogs, stopping her meant slowing down the whole team."
North Dakota State head coach Carolyn DeHoff
"I'm pleased with the players the way they came out in the first half, getting the jitters out. I thought hitting that shot early just kind of breaks the ice for you. I thought we made a nice run in the first half, obviously towards the end of that half we had to sit (Katie Birkel) and (Liz Keena) and in that situation with two fouls, you want your kids to maintain. We couldn't get the ball to fall, but certainly only allowed them to go up two going into the half. Loved the first four minutes coming out of the gate. Then they went to the zone and stalled us out offensively. We did a great job on the glass early then they started hitting some threes and obviously got some second and third opportunities there as well and the flood gates kind of opened and we couldn't stop the bleeding at that point.
on Katie Birkel's play
"I thought she came out and set the tone for the way it was going to be for our players and that's the way you want your senior leadership, captain, point guard, five-year player that obviously has the most experience in The Summit League Tournament to do for you because the team is going to ride as we have all year long on the shoulders of Katie Birkel and Dani DeGagne. I couldn't be more pleased. I couldn't be more upset about the fact of losing such a talent, gifted individual like Katie Birkel."
on how she will remember this season
"I guess, Jimmy V. said it best. If you have not laughed or cried or got angry or something in one day you haven't had a full day. So I have to say with this day on a constant day, there were many of those things that happened. And I know this, those seniors: Katie Birkel, Janae Burich, Hannah Linz, Dani DeGagne have set, what I believe as a head coach, what a program should entail in terms of high character kids. We have our hard workers that show up every day. You face adversity whether it's an opponent or whether is a health issue or whether it's an injury. Katie said it, it's been a fun five years and you just do everything you possible can for the betterment of the group. You stay the course and you stay together and that's what I can say about this group is they have done that because they have kept me together. And I'm sorry this is the first time I've really had a chance to just break down and this is not the place to do it."
North Dakota State Katie Birkel
on the first half to the second half
"I thought our defense and our rebounding carried us in the first half and that's the reason we did so well. Then, as coach said, we kind of went on a drought and weren't getting those rebounds and stops that we were in the first half."
on her mindset coming into the game
"It could be my last or we could have a couple more. I tried not to think about it, I guess. I just wanted to play hard and give it my all and try to go out the best I could."
on USD's zone defense and the lack of offensive movement
"It was pretty frustrating. You don't see people opening or at times they were kind of switching in and out of zone and man so it was kind of hard. We had to slow it down to see what they were in. That isn't good when you can't attack right away."
on the rash of injuries both teams have had
"It's pretty trivial. I think our team, at least for me, I've been used to it, unfortunately. You kind of see it happen one by one and you have to keep going. You have to try to forget about it and just do what you can with what you have. But obviously we didn't have a large bench this season and that would have helped this season."