VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — The USD men’s and women’s basketball teams each struggled to find consistency throughout the regular season, but they both ended the season on high notes.
The USD women finished 10-8 in the Summit League this season. With graduation and injuries, the Coyotes had to replace more than 80 percent of their scoring from last year’s team that reached the Sweet 16.
“A lot of adversity that nobody expected to have. Losing a couple of players throughout the way I think was such a challenge, trying to figure out how we were going to move on without them,” USD women’s basketball head coach Kayla Karius said.
Meanwhile the men wrapped up league play with a 7-11 record. The Coyotes won three of their first four conference games but then suffered a five-game skid in February.
“Been a roller coaster, been a lot of ups and downs. They have gone through a lot of adversity. Every team goes through adversity. I’ll defend our guys every day of the week for what they went through,” USD men’s basketball head coach Eric Peterson said.
The men own the sixth best three point percentage in the country at 39%. In addition to hot shooting, the team has put in work in the interior to become more balanced.
“We can score at the rim and we can score at the perimeter. It really helped our team, and it’s shown in certain games. But it helps having good shooters that get in the gym and constantly get shots up,” Peterson said.
The women have been led by sophomore Grace Larkins, who is the first player in Summit League history to rank top-5 in the league in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
“I don’t think people really realize as the year goes on how much harder and harder it is for that kid to put up those same numbers just because there’s so much focus on her,” Karius said.
Both USD teams will begin their quest for a Summit League tournament title Sunday. The women take on Oral Roberts at 12:30 p.m. and the men face NDSU at 8:30 p.m.