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Defense Spurs Cougars to 70-56 Victory

USF Cougars
USF Cougars

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) – USF (8-7, 4-7 NSIC) opened up a two-game home stand with a 70-56 victory over Upper Iowa (4-11, 3-8 NSIC) thanks to stingy defense and an efficient offensive effort. On defense, the Cougars held Upper Iowa to just 27.3% shooting including 33.3% from behind the arc. On the other end of the court, USF shot 40% from the field including a first half field goal percentage of 47.1%.

The Cougars started out the game with a 9-2 run with help from Taylor Varsho who played a role in seven of those nine points.

Upper Iowa continued to fight and a three-point shot by Sam Thrapp gave the Peacocks their first lead of the game with a score of 10-9.

USF then powered forward and took control of the game with a 28-4 run of their own. The run was capped off when Teagan Molden made a pass to Taylor Varsho and Varsho hit a shot from downtown to give the Cougars a 37-14 lead.

The Cougars went into the locker room with a 19 point lead. Taylor Varsho was key for USF in the first half as she scored 13 first half points on 5-of-8 shooting.

USF’s offense got rolling early in the second half as they scored the first eight points of the half. Jaicee Ulmer played a big role in that run as she hit two three-point shots during that stretch.

The Peacocks cut the Cougars lead down to 13 points with a Laura TerHark three-point shot, but that was too little too late as the field goal came with just over one-minute left in the game.

The Cougars recorded a final victory with a score of 70-56 thanks to a pair of Alyson Johnsen free-throws with four seconds left in the game.

Senior Laura Johnson recorded her fifth double-double of the season by scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 boards. Johnson also dished out four assists and blocked three Peacock shots.

Taylor Varsho led all scorers with 22 points. Varsho also grabbed five rebounds and recorded two steals.

Jaicee Ulmer was the third and final Cougar player to reach double-digits scoring as she scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

The Peacocks were led by Whitney Kieffer who scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds. In the Cougars loss to Upper Iowa earlier this season, Kieffer torched the Cougar defense for 35 points in a three-point Peacock victory.

The Cougars will wrap up this weekend’s competition on Saturday with a game against Winona State (8-6, 4-6 NSIC). Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at the Stewart Center. 

Courtesy: University of Sioux Falls