Growing up in a household of basketball players, senior forward on the South Dakota women’s basketball team Tori DePerry had a ball in her hands from a very young age.
“I was born into it. My family all played basketball, and my brother played in college,” DePerry said. “I picked up a ball, I think, in kindergarten, and I was always in love with playing it.”
DePerry went on to play at Saginaw Valley State located in University Center, Michigan where she played four seasons averaging 17 points per game, eight rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game.
After her final season with the Cardinals, DePerry entered the transfer portal.
During her time in the portal, Rick Karius (husband of women’s basketball head coach Kayla Karius) got in touch with her brother (Jake DePerry), whom he previously coached at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
From there, Jake DePerry gave Rick Tori’s phone number, which is how coach Karius got in touch with her.
“They were reaching out to me while I was in the portal, and Rick asked my brother for my number,” DePerry said.
DePerry said some of the reasons why she chose USD were the connections that were already established along with a continued pursuit of higher education.
“The connections we had here because Karius’ father-in-law coached my dad in high school,” DePerry said. “I also took a three-day visit (to Vermillion) for my official visit, and (the coaching staff) were super friendly. Saginaw had a good culture and everything, they just didn’t have my masters program.”
Since joining the Coyotes, DePerry has played in all the games this season where she is averaging 10.8 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game.
DePerry has also started two games for the Coyotes this season after coming off the bench for the first seven games. She said it is nice to know her hard work is paying off.
“It feels nice for sure. My hard work has paid off for sure,” DePerry said. “I knew coming into this program that I didn’t really know where I stood as a player yet from transferring, so it was cool to get the call in the starting five.”
DePerry said that one of the biggest adjustments she’s had to make with the transition from Division II to Division I is the pace of the game.
“Division I is definitely faster than Division II where I was at,” DePerry said.
Another thing DePerry said was difficult was being away from her family in Shawano, Wisconsin.
“I was eight hours away from my family at Saginaw, but it’s still hard because it is my last year, and I want them to make every game possible,” DePerry said. “It is always going to be a hard factor for me.”
As for what has made the transition smoother for her is her teammates and the coaching staff.
“The coaching staff and coach (Karius) have been great. They’re always like ‘if you need anything, let us know. We’re always there for you,’” DePerry said. “Then just my teammates have been super helpful with everything too.”
As for after basketball, DePerry said she wants to spend more time with her family and move back to Wisconsin and try to find a job in the Milwaukee area.
“It’d be cool to go play overseas, but I’m a very big family person, and since I have been away from them for so long, I definitely want to spend more time with them,” DePerry said.
As for the rest of the Coyotes, they will play again at home on Sunday, Dec. 10 against Dickinson State at 1 p.m.
Photo Credit: Tavin Carncross | The Volante