The University of South Dakota women’s basketball team’s goal was to show Oral Roberts what real Coyote basketball is. They did just that with a 93-70 win in the DakotaDome Saturday.
“It seems like our team does play the best when we have lots of different people contributing,” head coach Amy Williams said.
The Coyotes went back and forth in the first half, until eight minutes left in the game. The Coyotes started running away with the advantage when everyone from the bench started scoring.
“Coming off the bench, it is nice to be able to give the team a spark and relieve the players who need the help,” first-year center Kate Liveringhouse said.
The team played physically in the first half, with the Coyotes’ defense holding Oral Roberts’ shooters to one three-pointer in the first half.
But they couldn’t quite shut down red-shirt senior Vicky McIntyre, standing at 6’7″. She had 12 of the team’s 23 points and nine of the team’s 16 rebounds.
“It was important we made her work off the block and push her out of position. It made her tired and work for everything,” Liveringhouse said.
Senior guard Nicole Seekamp led the team with five assists and three steals. Meanwhile, senior guard Raeshel Contreras led the team with 11 points, and sophomore forward Bridget Arens led the team with four rebounds.
“It is a huge relief if someone has a bad game, the other players step up like they did today. Our bench did a great, great job today,” Contreras said.
Oral Roberts tried to close the gap in the first few minutes outshooting the Coyotes 10-4, but the Coyotes fought to the end for a win.
The bench players contributed 46 of the team’s 93 points.
“Anytime those bench players can step up and have great contribution, it builds their confidence,” Williams said. “They can be counted on to bring something to the table, and then they know they are capable of it.”
USD ended the game with four players in double digits — Liveringhouse led with 21 points, followed by Contreras with 19, Stewart with 11 and Arens added 10.
Seekamp had six assists and four steals on the night, and junior guard Heidi Hoff and junior center Margaret McCloud led the team with five rebounds each.
The team ended with only eight turnovers compared to 17 from Oral Roberts and 22 assists.
“The biggest key is we didn’t turn the basketball over,” Williams said. “It’s a credit to the fact that we can handle that contact without crumbling or making a mistake.”
Oral Roberts’ McIntyre ended the night with a career-high 32 points and 17 rebounds, while Jordan Doyle added 15 points.
“We allowed Vicky to go off on us and she played particularly well,” Williams said. “Our team did a good job of locking on the rest of their players — the perimeter in particular — which helped us to get the steals and transition points.”
The Coyotes improve to 17-5 (7-2 Summit League) with the win against Oral Roberts, dropping Oral Roberts to 10-12 (4-5).
USD will host Fort Wayne Thursday, with tip-off at 7 p.m.
(Photo: Sophomore guard Bridget Arens shoots in the Coyotes’ 23-point win against Oral Roberts Jan. 31 in the DakotaDome. Austin Ashlock / The Volante)