MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois women's basketball team fell 63-60 to South Dakota Thursday (Jan. 24) in Western Hall. The loss drops the Leathernecks to 10-9 overall, 3-4 in the Summit League, and halts the squad's seven-game win streak at home. The Coyotes move to 10-10 and 5-2.After trailing the entire second half, Western was able to make it a one-possession game cutting the deficit down to three points. The Leathernecks held USD scoreless from the 5:43 mark on following Margaret McCloud's layup. Ashley Luke then had two baskets for Western, the final one at the 3:42 mark to make it 63-60, however the Leathernecks could not capitalize on their opportunities down the stretch - missing four field goals and turning the ball over once.
Luke scored a career-high 19 point in her 35 minutes played, which marks a new career high and puts her in double figures for the fourth consecutive game. She also led the team in rebounds with a total of eight and blocks with three.
"Ashley played really well, she's gotten better every single game," said head coach JD Gravina. "She's important for us and she's starting to play well. It's really nice to have her for three more years after this one."
Joining Luke in double figures was Michelle Maher who netted 12 points after missing the last game at North Dakota State on Saturday (Jan. 19) due to an injury. She was 4-for-9 from beyond the arc. Rebecca Henricson dished out a team-high seven assists and three steals in 37 minutes of play.
In the first half, both teams went back-and-forth with eight lead changes and five times tied. Maher drained a 3-pointer to give Western a 30-28 lead. However, the Coyotes used an 11-2 run during the final five minutes of the half to take a 39-31 lead into the locker room. Western cut the deficit to two points on five occasions during the second half but could not get any closer.
Western shot 42.3 percent (22-for-52) overall from the field, 35.0 percent (7-for-20) from long range and 69.2 (7-for-8) percent from the charity stripe, while the Coyotes were 47.4 percent (27-for-57) from the floor, 28.6 percent (2-for-7) beyond the arc and 87.5 percent (7-for-8) from the free throw line.
Nicole Seekamp scored a team-high 13 points for the Coyotes, while Lisa Loeffler and Tempestt Wilson added 12 apiece. Loeffler earned a double-double after tallying 13 boards. South Dakota out-rebounded Western 41 to 22 in the game.
The Leathernecks resume Summit League play on Saturday (Jan. 26) in Western Hall against Kansas City. The game is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.