Women’s basketball prepares for first game, season
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Women’s basketball prepares for first game, season

The women’s basketball team has been practicing all summer and game week is finally here.

USD’s first game is Friday against Utah in Salt Lake City and their first home game is Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. in the DakotaDome against Marquette.

“It’s going to be a fun year and we got a lot of new incoming girls. I think we will have a lot more depth this year,” said returning senior guard Nicole Seekamp.

Seekamp, originally from Renmark, South Australia, was granted her fourth year of eligibility by the NCAA earlier this year — a big advantage for the Coyotes.

“She is just like a coach out on the floor. She is a spectacular high basketball IQ and very versatile player who takes great leadership roles but she is unselfish,” said head coach Amy Williams. “That’s a hard thing to find in player that is the whole package, so we are thrilled to death she has another year.”

The team has five seniors, but has added seven new players. Williams said she feels they are starting to turn the corner with the new players.

“It’s been a unique situation, where you have some very veteran players who have played a lot of minutes here and then seven new players who haven’t put on a Coyote uniform yet,” Williams said. “Trying to mesh those two has been an interesting challenge but it helps that we have such good leadership from our upperclassmen.”

Senior guard Tia Hemiller said she’s exicited to see what the new players can bring to the table.

“They are very talented and I am very excited to see what they can do for the team,” she said.

The NCCA Tournament is one of the many goals the team has along with improving from last year.

“They have goals before every game, each part of the season like preseason goals, conference goals and post-season goals. But for the most part our team just wants to be playing our best basketball and focus on the next game,” Williams said.

One of the ways to reach their goal is to work it down to the post players. Williams said they call their post players their “bread and butter.”

“We want everyone on our team to focus on finding ways to get those post touches,” she said. “We believe if you can get post touches and dominate in the paint that it makes life easier for everyone on the court.”

Another way to reach their goal is having a deep bench like last season.

“We have lots of different players that can score the basketball. If we can stay at that point where nobody really cares what their individual offensive production is and make it about sharing the basketball and scoring a bunch of points as a team, then we will be a tough team to beat,” Williams said.

Hemiller said this year the team has a new motto – GRITT, greatness resides in toughness together. The acronym itself defines what the team wants to be.

“We try to emphasize it (celebrating the little things) in practice because even the smallest things like getting a turnover or deflection on the ball is a huge stop in momentum,” Hemiller said. “Those little things turn into the big things and that’s how we win games.”