Propelled by a 21-2 start, the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team defeated California State University Fullerton 86-50 Saturday in the DakotaDome.
“We were just ready to come out with the attack mentality,” said junior forward Margaret McCloud.
The Coyotes attacked on both ends of the court. They forced 21 turnovers on defense and held the Titans to 32 percent from the field.
“We tried to blow up a lot of their screens,” McCloud said.
USD head coach Amy Williams was impressed with her team’s defensive effort, but said she still sees room for improvement.
“It’s probably as good as I’ve seen,” said Williams. “Our kids are starting to lock in to our defensive game plan.”
Senior Raeshel Contreras said she has noticed improvements in all areas of the defense from communication to putting pressure on their opponents.
“We talk more,” said Contreras. “We’re trying to get up on people more and make them feel uncomfortable rather than playing off. I think as a whole, our help, rotations, everything has improved.”
Five Coyotes scored double digits for the team and were led by senior Nicole Seekamp’s 15 points. McCloud scored 13 while Contreras and junior Kelly Stewart added 12 points a piece. Junior Tia Hemiller scored 11 points to go with her five assists.
Much of the Coyotes’ balance was brought forth by the Titans starting the game in a triangle and attempting to deny Contreras and Seekamp the ball.
“It’s something that makes us difficult to guard when we have a lot of different people able to contribute,” said Williams.
First-year Chante Miles led Cal State Fullerton with 16 points while senior Natalie Williams added 13. The Titans fell to 2-5 with the loss.
The win improved the Coyotes to 6-2 on the season. The team will be in action again on Tuesday against Valparaiso University in Vermillion.
(Photo: Junior center Margaret McCloud goes up for a layup against Cal State Fullerton defenders Dec. 6 in the DakotaDome. Malachi Petersen / The Volante)