Last season, South Dakota rode a strong second half of the Summit League season all the way to a date in the conference tournament championship game.  This season, after winning just twice in the Summit's first seven games, the Coyotes again are trying to capture some second half magic heading into week six action.

USD got off to a strong start to the second half last Friday, with a 22-point win at home over Denver, limiting a Pioneer team that had scored 91 on them in the first meeting, to just 67 points.

The Coyotes got great balance offensively against the Pioneers, and held Denver to just 31 percent shooting in the second half, while hitting 53 percent of their shots in the second 20 minutes.

Head coach Amy Williams told me that early offensive balance and much improved defense paid big dividends against Denver:

Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia

USD did get a boost from Nicole Seekamp's return to the starting lineup against Denver after battling an ankle injury most of the last month.  But Coach Williams says her status for this week's game is questionable after getting hurt in the second half in last Friday's win:

Thursday night, the Coyotes host a Fort Wayne team that blitzed them for 96 points the first time around.  A lot of that damage last month came from behind the 3-point line, as the top long range shooting team in the Summit League buried 13 3's and shot 53 percent from the floor.

The key weapon for IPFW that night was Haley Seibert, who hit seven of those 13 3's.  She finished the night with 30 points, 15 above her average at that point.  But Coach Williams says that performance was no fluke:

Tipoff is 7:00pm Thursday in Vermillion.