It was the Hannah Sjerven show as South Dakota rolled to an 84-68 victory over Bradley at Renaissance Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.
Sjerven, working mainly from the low post, totaled a staggering 31 points and 21 rebounds.
“We didn’t follow the scout on how to defend her and she was tougher than us,” Bradley head coach Andrea Gorski said. “That’s what you’re gonna get if you don’t follow the scout, how to force her to her weakness… it’s gonna be a long day and it was.”
Importantly, the senior opened up the floor for the Coyotes to shoot just under 47 percent from the field. To that end, the Coyotes’ trio of Liv Korngable, Chloe Lamb and Morgan Hansen combined to drain 13 of 23 three-point attempts.
Korngable and Lamb combined for 44 points in a game that saw only five South Dakota players find the scoring column.
“Their three-headed monster just really played well,” Gorski said. “They shot the ball [and] we couldn’t stop him inside. You’ve got to pick your poison with them because they can shoot it, they got the inside game. If we dug in and doubled the posts, they kicked out for three.”
The game was a see-saw affair early on, with a seven-point South Dakota lead in the first quarter the largest lead for either side in the first half. But after Bradley took a 45-44 lead with 7:25 to play in the third quarter, the Yotes retook the lead on a Sjerven layup and never trailed again.
Eventually, the Coyotes pulled away, and despite a few big threes from senior Gabi Haack, who finished with a team-high 24 points, the Braves were left in the rear-view mirror.
“Gabi plays well against tough teams,” Gorski said. “I mean, the tougher the team, the more physical the team, the better Gabi plays. We just need everyone to be able to play against a physical team and we don’t have that right now.”
Also of note for the Braves was that junior Lasha Petree passed current head coach Gorski with her first point of the game. She added 23 for the Braves, which was also enough to put her over the 1,000 career point mark. She now has 1,003 career points.
Bradley will face Quincy on Friday at 2 p.m. on ESPN+.