I was planning on leaving at halftime.
Last Sunday night I decided to go watch the women’s basketball team play the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers for the “third last game in the DakotaDome.” I, along with the group I came with, were only planning on staying until half due to multiple homework assignments leftover from break.
But that was before the game started.
For the last three years I’ve covered USD sports, but Sunday night was the first time I was actually able to sit back and enjoy a game as a spectator. As the minutes ticked down to the end of the first quarter, I was surprised at how fast-paced the game was. Back and forth the two teams ran, trying to gain an advantage over the other.
In games during the regular season it always seemed that the opposition was easily defeated, with the Coyotes able to gain an early lead. On Sunday night that wasn’t the case. USD was fighting tooth and nail to even get a few baskets ahead of the Hilltoppers. While this situation probably wasn’t ideal for head coach Amy Williams and her team, it made for a good show. There were multiple times during the game that I found myself on my feet, cheering on the Coyotes at the top of my lungs.
I wasn’t the only one, either. More than 2,5oo people filled the DakotaDome Sunday night, with a good portion of the crowd being students. Led by the Coyote Crazies, I saw students fill the stands on a Sunday night — and after a three-day weekend no less. The crowd was loud and boisterous, fueling the tournament atmosphere in the DakotaDome.
Before I knew it, it was halftime. The score was close and the Coyote lead was slim. I knew we couldn’t leave yet. We had to see the game through. There were also free buffalo wings, which helped solidify our decision.
The second half started the same way the second did – with both teams vying for control of the game. Eventually the Coyotes were able to maintain a decent lead and keep it for the remainder of the game. Even at the end of the game, though, the energy in the Dome was high and people were still on their feet.
Tomorrow’s game should be the same way. The Coyotes will be heading into a Final Four game against the Oregon Ducks, one of the best teams in the country. More than 4,000 tickets have already been sold, meaning the DakotaDome should once again be loud. If you haven’t already attended a basketball game this year, tomorrow night is the night to do it. Let’s support our women and show the Ducks whose turf they’re on.