It was all about confidence for the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team on Thursday night — confidence that led to a 31-point victory against the Fort Wayne Mastodons.
The USD women took the lead early in the game and never looked back, grabbing a 82-51 victory over Fort Wayne in the DakotaDome.
This win brings the Coyotes record to 8-10 overall and 3-2 in the Summit League Conference, putting the team in third place overall within the conference.
“We had a couple of players that usually don’t score,” junior, Polly Harrington said. “And tonight they were putting it in the whole and I think that was a big key for us tonight.”
USD took an early lead a little over seven minutes into the first half and never gave it up. Fort Wayne tried to make a comeback after South Dakota went on a 16-0 run, cutting the lead to three at the half with the score 37-34.
The story for the Coyotes in the first half was offensive rebounding. USD had 10 offensive rebounds to Fort Wayne’s three. This gave South Dakota 12 second-chance points.
Nicole Seekamp scored 12 points for USD in the first half and dished out three assists. Senior Tempestt Wilson scored nine first half points and senior Alexis Yackley had five assists.
Sophomore Haley Seibert led the Mastodons in scoring during the first half putting up nine points, followed by junior Amanda Hyde and redshirt junior Stefanie Mauk each with eight points.
South Dakota came out red hot in the second half, beginning the last period of the game on a 10-0 run. The Coyotes only allowed 17 points in the half, giving them a huge 31-point win with a final score of 82-51.
Seekamp led the scoring for the Coyotes with 18 total points. Seekamp also grabbed six defensive rebounds for the team. Polly Harrington scored 16 points and had three rebounds in the game. While freshman Margaret McCloud came off the bench with three blocked shots.
A huge key in the win for the team came from off the bench with 29 total points coming from non-starters, including 14 for McCloud.
Yackley knew she and her teammates needed the win, and said she was glad to grab it.
“It was the best performance of our season,” said USD head coach Amy Williams after the win. “We were playing against a team that really was a whole lot hotter than they probably showed, but we played with a lot of confidence.
“It’s amazing how when the ball goes through the basket everything else just seems a lot better,” Coach Williams added.
The Coyotes will take on Oakland on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome.