Despite a slow start, the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team managed a big win for the home opener Monday night in the DakotaDome.
USD defeated UC Irvine 96-52, moving to 3-2 on the season.
Senior Coyote guard Nicole Seekamp said a lack of execution was to blame for the poor start.
“We just weren’t doing what we talked about before the game,” Seekamp said. “We were just letting them have wide open shots.”
After UC Irvine jumped out to a 14-13 with 11:59 remaining in the first half, the Coyotes used a full-court press to take a 56-31 lead into halftime. The Coyotes used a 30-8 run in the middle of the first half to propel them to victory. The run was started by a Jaylah Jackson three-pointer.
“That was a huge shot and a huge spark,” said USD head coach Amy Williams. “It opened the floodgates for us.”
The Coyotes used a full court press for most of the first half, capitalizing on the Anteaters and creating scoring opportunities.
“We realized after they made their few shots that we just had to get back out there and pressure them,” Seekamp said.
But the sole focus of the press was not turnovers, Williams said. Rather, the Coyotes focused on defense.
“The goal for us is not how many turnovers we can force,” Williams said. “We want defensive stops.”
For the Coyotes, Seekamp scored 22 points and added seven assists, while Contreras scored 24 points and with four assists.
On Seekamp’s moves toward the basket, she said she was looking for Contreras.
“If I drive, (Contreras is) a good shooter,” Seekamp said.
UC Irvine’s Mokun Fajemisin scored a total of 15 points and had four rebounds, while Methlyn Onogomuho had 13 points and four rebounds on the night.
As a whole, the Coyotes assisted on 28 of 34 field goals.
Contreras credited reading UC Irvine’s zone defense for the offensive showcase.
“Their zone plays a little high up for shooters, and if you see your man turn their head and watch the ball, they obviously can’t see you in the corner,” Contreras said.
The Coyote victory dropped the Anteaters to 1-4. The Coyotes next game is Nov. 30th at Marquette.
(Photo: University of South Dakota’s Margaret McCloud goes up for a shot against UC Irvine’s defense Monday night in the Coyotes’ home opener at the DakotaDome. USD defeated the Anteaters 96-52 and moved to 3-2 on the season. Emily Niebrugge/The Volante.)