VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — The USD women’s basketball team reached the Sweet 16 last season, but as they entered this year, the Coyotes returned just one of their top six scorers.

Grace Larkins was named the Sixth Woman of the Year last season, but this year she’s been tasked with a much bigger role.

“Last year, I kind of took a step back and it was just like so much to take in. And this year, I want to continue to learn and grow. But I also want to take a step forward and teach my teammates as I learned,” USD guard Grace Larkins said.

Larkins has stepped into a leadership role since having played thirty-five games as a freshman.

“She really has such a respect level from her teammates, it’s unmatched and I think when you can challenge your teammates and really try to raise them up then the entire level the team continues to grow and I think she’s really capable of that,” USD head coach Kayla Karius said.

This year the sophomore is bringing in 17 points per contest, becoming the versatile leader the Yotes need.

“For her to really be in tops in the league in four different categories points, rebounds, assists and steals. I think it just shows the amount of impact that she can really have,” Karius said.

Following the tough loss by SDSU here at home, Grace and the Yotes remain focus for what’s ahead.

“We have big opportunities, isn’t it like the especially this week playing at home, that we just need to come out and play our own game. Come back to Coyote basketball,” Larkins said.

USD’s biggest challenge this season has been battling injuries which gives Grace more time to shine.

“Getting to come in here every day. It’s a privilege. You see, like a lot of our team is injured right now and they don’t have the opportunity to play and I’m very thankful that I do. And so like why take that for granted, Larkins said.

The Coyotes return to action on Thursday, when they welcome in Omaha at 7 p.m.