In a hostile and unfamiliar environment the women’s basketball team held their ground in the WNIT Sweet 16 in Vermillion, South Dakota.
But it was not enough as University of South Dakota defeated the Spartans in overtime, 85-83, as they conclude the 2018 season.
MSU came out with an offensive burst in the first quarter as the Spartans made 13 out of their 17 field goals, while shooting 70 percent. Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon and redshirt sophomore guard Shay Colley combined 19 of the team’s 31 points in the first quarter. The Spartans forced the Coyotes to seven turnovers, which tied for most forced turnovers in a quarter this season.
In the second quarter the pace started to slow down as South Dakota responded by outsourcing the Spartans, 25-15 cutting the deficit to, 46-43 at the end of the first half. The Coyote’s knocked down four of their five 3-pointers in the second.
The Spartans struggled in the third, but kept it tight as the Coyotes came back from 16 down to take their first lead of the game with 4:46 to go in the third. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks struggled all night in foul trouble as she picked up her fourth foul midway through the third.
South Dakota fans were roaring all night with every made basket by the Coyotes, but MSU all night would answer back with a bucket of their own. After a 3-pointer by South Dakota had the crowd on its feet, Colley knocked down a long 3-pointer of her own in the fourth to silence the crowd.
Colley put the team on her back in the fourth, scoring nine of the team's 15 points in the fourth. Sophomore guard Ciara Duffy led the way for the Coyotes including a game-tying shot with 22 seconds that would ultimately head to overtime.
In overtime it was a struggle for the Spartans as junior center Jenna Allen would foul out. A pair of clutch free throws by Colley tied it at 81 with a minute to go. However, freshman Chloe Lamb hit a huge 3-pointer to give the Coyotes the lead and eventually the win. The ball was in Colley's hands with five seconds remaining, but it went in and out.
Colley led the way for the Spartans with a dominating performance of a career-high 31 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. McCutcheon started off strong scoring 14 points in the first half, but only two in the second. For the first time in her career, McCutcheon failed to register one assist all night.
The Spartans conclude the season with a 19-14 overall record.