The happiest group in the Summit League this week is the South Dakota women, who, after starting conference play with three straight on the road, finally get a pair of home games with Western Illinois and Omaha this week in Vermillion.

The Coyotes are reeling a bit after dropping the first three in league play, including last Thursday's 21-point defeat at IUPUI, a team USD best three times last season.

South Dakota got the start it was looking for, shooting 62% in the first five minutes to match the Jags, but in the end all-conference player DeArra Goss and IUPUI presented too many challenges for the Coyotes defensively.

USD Head Coach Amy Williams on the fast start at IUPUI:

Two nights later at Fort Wayne, without Nicole Seekamp in the starting lineup, USD jumped out to an early nine point lead on the Mastodons, limiting conference player of the year Amanda Hyde in the first half, but giving up a career night to her teammate Haley Seibert, who finished the game with 35 points.

Coach Williams on defending IPFW:

(Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)

So after missing two games with an ankle injury and then attempting to in two before sitting Saturday, Seekamp is again on the the bench.  Coach Williams still not satisfied that she's recovered enough to help her team:

Without Seekamp now, and already without starter Heidi Hoff for the season with a knee injury, all while in the midst of an 0-3 start to Summit League play, these have been trying times for the Coyotes.

So what is the mental state of this team heading into this week's play?

(Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)

One thing working in USD's favor is a return to the DakotaDome after starting on the road the first two conference weekends.

But it doesn't get any easier with Western Illinois in Thursday night.

The Leathernecks are led by Ashley Luke, who is averaging a double-double so far this season, with a lot of talent around her.

Coach Williams on being home and facing Western Illinois:

Tipoff is 7:00pm Thursday in Vermillion.