The University of South Dakota women's basketball team hosts a major conference opponent in Thursday’s third round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
The Coyotes take on the Michigan State University Spartans of the Big Ten Conference at 7 p.m. inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion.
The Spartans come into the game with a record of 19-13. Julie Dombrowski is the director of basketball operations and technology for Michigan State and is a former player for the Spartans. She says MSU has persevered to this point despite several injuries and a difficult schedule.
Dombrowski says USD's performance in their second-round win against Colorado State demonstrates their ability to make shots and share the basketball. The Coyotes enter tonight's game 3rd in the NCAA in free-throw shooting and 16th in overall field goal percentage. Dombrowski says Michigan State will attempt to embrace the underdog mentality in this matchup against an impressive Coyote team that has 28 wins in 34 games.
"They have a great scoring offense, they're ranked third in their conference and they are a high-powered offensive team. We do have size, and our strength in rebounding is one of our go-to points. But, I would think that the overall comparison of the game comes down to who really wants to attack and take advantage of what they do best," Dombrowski says.
Michigan State has collected about six more rebounds on average than their opponents this season. The Spartans have 10 players on their roster who are at least six foot tall. MSU is 12th in the country in assists.
Spartan guard Shay Colley hit a game-winning shot to propel Michigan State past the University of Toledo Rockets by a score of 68-66 on Monday night to advance to this round. South Dakota limited Colorado State to 25 percent shooting in the fourth quarter en route to a 74-48 win on Sunday. Ciara Duffy scored 19 points to lead the Coyotes to victory against the Rams.