VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — After missing most of her first season at USD due to injury, former Rapid City Stevens standout Kyah Watson has played a big role in the Coyote women’s 7-0 start to Summit League play. While much of her success can be attributed to her skills and natural abilities on the court, some lessons she learned from the sideline last year have also played a big part.

Kyah Watson has started in 17 of USD’s 18 games in her second season in Vermillion.

“She continues to progress week by week. It’s fun to watch her when the light bulb goes on and she goes oh yeah now I understand, I get it, this is fun. So it’s been really exciting and I still think her best days of basketball are really far into her future,” USD Head Coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.

At this time last year though Watson was left watching her team from the sideline, as a foot injury limited her to just 9 games and kept her out until the Summit League Championship.

“Hearing the news, it was sad. Like getting hurt my first year and everything, knowing that I’m going to have to sit out,” USD Guard Kyah Watson said.

Helping her through that injury was teammate Monica Arens, who missed her entire senior season due to injury as well.

“Mon always saw the positives in everything. I think she did a good job of helping me through that because it was hard and she was like someone I could always talk to,” Watson said.

Though she was out injured, she still improved as a player.

“She was standing on the sidelines, she was watching, she started coaching. She actually became more vocal while she was out then really she was prior to that time. That understanding has really helped her in this, now her really true first year, and full first year,” Plitzuweit said.

And her growth as a player has been a big reason for USD’s success so far.

“Knowing that all my coaches and teammates have the confidence in me to you know score the ball, that brings a lot of confidence in myself,” Watson said.

Watson ranks in the top five in just about every major statistic for USD this season. She and the Coyotes are back in action Thursday night at home against Western Illinois.