USD women's basketball holds off comeback effort from St. Thomas to stay unbeaten in Summit

Morgan Hansen knocked down three free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining to pick up the win.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — South Dakota improved to 3-0 in Summit League play with a 58-56 win over St. Thomas on Thursday inside Schoenecker Arena.

The Coyotes had three players in double-digit scoring, led by Grace Larkins who provided a game-high 12 points and seven rebounds. Alexi Hempe and Walker Demers added 10 points apiece, while Morgan Hansen scored nine and Macy Guebert added eight points. It was Hansen's three free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining that secured the win after St. Thomas had rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to take the lead.

South Dakota (7-7, 3-0 Summit) forced 20 St. Thomas turnovers and scored 16 points off of those. The Coyotes also scored 12 fast break points and had 13 points from their bench. Sammy Opichka put up a team-high 12 points for St. Thomas, while Maggie Negaard had 10.

The first half was a back-and-forth battle that saw the Tommies go up by as many as nine points toward the end of the first quarter. St. Thomas led 24-22 at the half, but South Dakota outscored the Tommies 23-10 in the third. Demers had eight points in the quarter on 4-of-4 shooting and the Coyotes made 11-of-17 shots out of the break after going 7-of-20 in the first half.

Larkins hit a 3-pointer with 5:39 to go that gave South Dakota its largest lead of the night at 53-39. But that turned out to be the Coyotes' final field goal of the game, and the Tommies rallied to take a 56-55 lead with 15 seconds to go on a drive to the hoop by Opichka.


Larkins drew three defenders on the other end and kicked to Hansen in the left corner who was bumped by Jordyn Lamker after releasing the shot. Hansen's three free throws followed and Hill's half-court heave bounced away as time expired.

USD will take on Western Illinois at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31, before kicking off a two-game homestand.

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