A 1-4 Summit record wasn't what the USD women had in mind to start their season off. They knew they would have to replace key seniors to graduation, but now they are faced with replacing their leader due to an injury.
Everything was going according to plan for the Coyote women this year as they went 9-6 before entering league play. That is until their leader Nicole Seekamp went down with an ankle injury leaving the Yotes to lick their wounds.
"It's not good when a key player goes down, but we have to find a way to play around it. We need to try to play without her, but we are eager to get her back," USD Sophomore Tia Hemiller said.
There are two positives to Seekamps injury. The first being it's not season ending, she is now day to day. The second is that it has made her teammates learn how to compete without her and they think that will make them stronger once she returns.
"Yeah I think it does. We now have the confidence in each other. We have seen who can do what and everyone has proven themselves that they are going to step up and accept the challenge. Once Nicole gets back we will have more bodies," USD Junior Raeshel Contreras said.
"We have recruited every player that is here with this program to contribute in some way, shape, or form. Some of the kids we have talked to about having to step up a little faster than they anticipated or we had anticipated," USD Women's Head Coach Amy Williams said.
South Dakota has seen JUCO transfer Raeschel Contreras and sophomore Tia Hemiller both step up their roles. Contreras is averaging just under 13 points a game while Hemiller leads the team in assists and rebounds. All signs that this team isn't one other will want to face come tournament time.
"I just think that we have a lot of potential to do well. We just have to focus on the little things, stay as one, and I think we will have a bright future," Hemiller said.
"By tournament time I really think we are going to be that team that everyone needs to watch out for. I think people might be sleeping on us because we have gotten of to a slow start, but we're fighting and we are going to fight until the end. They should be ready," Contreras said.
The Coyotes will travel to Fargo Thursday night to square off with the Bison at 7 o'clock. They will then host SDSU on Sunday.