MACOMB – The Western Illinois women's basketball team began the Summit League journey against South Dakota on Sunday (Dec. 29) inside Western Hall.
To kick-off the league doubleheaders, the Leathernecks strung together short runs throughout the game, but the Coyotes responded to each run with a strong second half defeat of 65-96.
"I thought we came out and played really hard, and we played really physically," the head coach said, JD Gravina. "In the second-half South Dakota was making some adjustments and got more physical around the basket. I think we let ours drop just a touch and they were able to get some easier scores around the basket."
The Leathernecks earned their first lead of the game after Junior Olivia Kaufmann completed an and-one attempt to make it 7-8 before the end of the first.
Before both sides entered halftime, Elizabeth Lutz caught a pass and drilled the last-second layup to head into to make it a one-possession game (35-38, USD).
However, the second half favored #22, South Dakota as the Coyotes came out and shot over 65 percent from the field and a perfect (10-10) at the free-throw line to pull away from the Fighting Leathernecks.
Now the women are on a three-game losing streak. Next, Western Illinois will hit the road for action against North Dakota State (Jan. 2) and South Dakota State (Jan. 4).