Coyotes Host Creighton in WNIT Opener
Being back home is both the good news and the bad news for USD.
On the up side: when the Coyotes host Creighton, it'll be in a building that has been very good to the home team over the last four years - 47 wins in 53 games, including a 15-1 mark this season.
On the down side: playing in Vermilion means the Coyotes aren't in the NCAA Tournament, despite winning the Summit League regular season title for the second straight year. Those hopes ended with a loss to South Dakota State in the Summit League tournament final.
The Coyotes are no stranger to the postseason. USD is playing bonus basketball for the sixth consecutive season. Three of those appearances have been in the WNIT.
South Dakota (26-6) earned an automatic bid to the WNIT by winning the Summit League regular season title with a 15-1 record. The Coyotes are in the top ten in the nation in assists and rebounding margin. USD had the top scoring offense (78 points per game) in the Summit League this season. Senior Nicole Seekamp is the Summit League Player of the Year. She was the only player in the nation to average 16 points, six assists and three steals a game this season.
Creighton (17-17) earned an at-large bid to the WNIT after going 8-10 in the Big East and advancing to the final of the Big East Tournament as a No. 7 seed, losing to St. John's in the championship game. The Bluejays were dealt a big blow six games into the season when senior Marissa Janning, a former Big East Player of the Year, went down with a broken leg. She is applying for a medical redshirt and hopes to be back next season.
In Janning's absence, freshman Audrey Faber emerged as the team's leading scorer (13 points per game), one of three Bluejays to average in double figures. Junior MC McGrory scored 43 points in two Big East Tournament games to send Creighton to the championship game.
As a team, the Bluejays are in the top 30 nationally in assists, assist-to-turnover ratio, free throw shooting and three-point shooting.
This will be the 22nd meeting Creighton and South Dakota. Last year, the Coyotes ended the Bluejays season in the opening round of the WNIT Tournament. USD went on to lose to Northern Colorado in round two. Creighton is in the WNIT for the 12th time. The Bluejays won the tournament in 2004.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Wednesday in Vermillion. The winner plays either Minnesota or Milwaukee in round two.
I talked with Coyotes head coach Amy Williams about the match-up with the Bluejays: