March 5, 2016
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - An explosive third quarter by South Dakota proved to be the difference as the University of Denver women's basketball team saw its season come to an end in a 73-54 loss in the quarterfinals of the Summit League Tournament on Saturday.
The Pioneers' Paige Bradley (The Woodlands, Texas) showed her signature all-around versatility in her final collegiate game in front of 9,816 fans at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, scoring a game-high 19 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. The senior finished her career with 1,246 career points, 12th on the all-time scoring list in program history.
Jesse Spittel (Yorba Linda, Calif.) chipped in with 10 points in 23 minutes.
Recently named Summit League Player of the Year Nicole Seekamp led the Coyotes with a 17-point, four-rebound, six-assist performance.
Kelly Stewart added 14 points for USD.
Denver's defense came out swinging in the first quarter, stunning South Dakota in the first five minutes with its swarming play and aggressiveness. The Pioneers held the Coyotes to just 22 percent shooting in the opening moments, forcing USD to tough shots on numerous occasions while battling for position down on the block.
DU continued its defensive effort throughout the rest of the quarter, taking a 13-10 lead after one, a surprise to many in attendance. Bradley led the charge early on for Denver, scoring five points in the opening 10 minutes of play.
In the second, Denver went cold on the offensive end, going scoreless for 8:18, allowing South Dakota to go on a 13-3 run during the span to find some separation. The Pioneers did close strong though, getting back within six at 27-21 going into the break.
Despite a rough-shooting second quarter, DU finished the half shooting 36.8 percent (7-for-19) while holding the Coyotes to 27.3 percent.
USD got the separation it was looking for in the third with a 10-2 run that pushed its lead to 14 after a 3 from Tia Hemiller. South Dakota continued its attack, extending its lead to 22 after a pair of free throws from Abigail Fogg to end the quarter.
Denver fought back in the fourth, getting the Coyote lead down to 16 after scoring plays from Bradley and Spittel. USD, however, responded back, pushing its lead back up to as many as 24 on the way to its victory, doing it by controlling the glass and getting numerous second-chance opportunities.
No Quit in This Kid
Bradley stood tall and delivered in her final collegiate game. The Texas native went at the South Dakota defense and never let up on the defensive end. She consistently made great plays finding her teammates while scoring a game-high 19 on only nine shots, a true sign of an efficient basketball player. She now ranks 12th on the all-time scoring list but had to shoulder more of an offensive burden due to opponents gearing their defenses to just stopping her all season.
The Pioneers will return to action in the winter to begin their 2016-17 season.
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