Junior center Margaret McCloud gained her second foul with 15:19 left in the first half against Oral Roberts on Saturday, when head coach Amy Williams sent in first-year Kate Liveringhouse.
“She stepped up and played huge minutes,” Williams said. “She did not play intimidated and was effective going up against a pretty tough foe (McIntyre, standing at 6’7’’).”
Liveringhouse played 24 minutes for the Coyotes, scored 21 points and had three rebounds and two steals.
“(The team) trusted her to do just as good of job as I do,” McCloud said. “I could see her confidence grow as the game went on. She wasn’t afraid to make her moves.”
Liveringhouse used her step-through move and her high release to score points during Saturday’s game.
“She is so unique because you don’t see a lot of size out of her,” Williams said. “But she just has a high release away from her body, and it is hard to defend. We learned that early when she came in for summer workouts. She was more skilled with that stuff than we expected.”
McCloud knows Liveringhouse is sometimes a little hesitant on the court because she thinks she is too young and can’t do it. But McCloud said Saturday was the “perfect” example of what Liveringhouse is capable of.
“Being the youngest, you sometimes get a lot of crap, but they are all really excited,” Liveringhouse said. “It’s a lot better when everyone is backing you up and happy for you, too.”
McCloud has taken Liveringhouse under her wing because they play the same position — just like Polly Harrington, who graduated from USD last year, did for McCloud.
“Polly motivated me by example. She always worked hard, and that made me want to work harder,” McCloud said. “She always believed in me and was always positive.”
The leadership and passing of knowledge continues to get passed down from player to player. Last year, Williams said, Harrington’s leadership meant a lot to the team, and her impact is still felt.
“(Polly) showed great leadership when she took Margaret under her wing, and I can’t tell you how much Margaret has meant to Kate and her development as a freshman,” Williams said. “She is constantly talking with her on the baseline (and) we don’t always have a chance to do that. It is a special trade when you find players that are willing to pass that along, and it is good for the culture of the program.”
McCloud knows how hard it is to learn new things and that sometimes a different, reassuring voice helps.
“When (Kate) comes off (the) court, I try to correct little things that the coaches don’t talk to us about,” McCloud said. “I’m trying to pass on the knowledge that I learned from Polly onto her. I can tell she is really listening and not letting it go in one ear and out the other.
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Williams said Liveringhouse has a lot of characteristics that make her a better player.
“The best thing about Kate is she is constantly asking questions, she is hungry to get better, she wants to work, wants to please, wants to become a better defender,” Williams said. “Because of that she continues to improve, and we could see big things out of her.”
Liveringhouse also wants to carry on the tradition of passing down knowledge and leadership, like the older players have done for her.
“If we want the program to continue to be successful and keep up the reputation, it is important to pass down working on the little things and working hard,” McCloud said. “If we keep passing it down, the program will get more successful.”