It was a great run.
That was the reaction from University of South Dakota women’s basketball team following a tough loss against the McNeese State Cowgirls in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
The women’s team took on McNeese State Thursday night in the DakotaDome for a chance to head to the finals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
While the Coyotes had the lead for most of the game, they could not hold on to it, losing to the Cowgirls 71-63.
“It was a great run,” Alexis Yackley said. “We had some ups and downs during the year, but our goal was to be playing the best basketball by the end of the season. We made a great run in the conference tournament and a great run here. We won some post season games. It’s been fun.”
The Coyotes came out of the gate hot. Senior Yackley hit her first three pointer since December 9th to begin the game, then senior Tempestt Wilson came back down the court to give the Coyotes another three pointer. USD continued to play well into the half, taking a 36-28 lead into the locker room.
Wilson scored 10 points in the first half for the Coyotes, while sophomore Nicole Seekamp put in an additional seven points. Sophomore Lisa Loeffler was huge on the boards, grabbing seven in the first half alone.
Senior Caitlyn Baggett scored 12 first-half points for the Cowgirls. Junior Cecilia Okoye and senior Ashlyn Baggett each added six points for McNeese.
The Coyotes went cold during the second half of game. The team was unable to make a basket for a long stretch in the middle of the half, helping McNeese to go on a 27-5. While the Coyotes fought back toward the end of the game, it was not enough. The team’s season came to a close with the 71-63 loss.
Despite the loss, Seekamp was able to put up 20 points for the team. Wilson added 15 and junior Polly Harrington added another 10 points.
The Baggett twins for McNeese State combined for a total 45 points, while their younger sister, Allison Baggett put in eight for the team.
“Down the stretch we just tried to do what we were supposed to do,” Wilson said. “But things just didn’t go our way. We made it pretty far and we played the best basketball all this season.”
Head Coach Amy Williams said though she was disappointed the team’s season was ending, she couldn’t be more proud of the team and their run. She also added that tiredness and the long season might have hurt the Coyotes in the second half.
“We might have run out of gas towards the stretch,” Williams said. “But this is a tremendous group of young women that I had the privilege to coach and I’m sure going to miss this team.”
The team will say goodbye to seniors Alexis Yackley, Tempestt Wilson, Pam January and Sam Mehr. Coyote basketball will return next fall.