Coyote women coast past S.D. Mines 81-49

By Jeremy Hoeck

RAPID CITY — The Division I favorites did what they were supposed to do: Win comfortably, play relatively clean and showcase their depth.

Check. Check. Check.

In what became an 81-49 rout of South Dakota School of Mines, the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team was perhaps most pleased with the play of its two key reserves.

Junior college transfer Raeshel Contreras and freshman Bridget Arens combined for 30 points

“The big goal for our team will always be to have a lot of threats offensively,” said head coach Amy Williams, a Spearfish native that was coaching in front of friends and family.

“We’re not going to be a one man show or a two man show, we have a lot of different players that we think can be dangerous.”

Sure, leading scorer Nicole Seekamp finished with 13 points and two others reached double figures, but the win for the Coyotes (5-5) had more to do with Contreras — 19 points — and former Crofton, Neb. standout Arens — 11 points and seven rebounds.

“If it’s going slow for us, I want to be the spark for us,” Contreras said.

For a while Saturday night in front of new fans to USD basketball, it was rather slow-moving.

The Coyotes really didn’t start clicking until Contreras and Arens checked into the game.

“I’ve been talking to Raeshel about being that beast off the bench, and taking on that nickname; really buying into that role,” Williams said. “Today was a perfect example of what we need.

“We started a litte bit slow, but to have that spark come in and punch you is just such a lift for a team.”

In every statistical category, USD controlled the Lady Hardrockers (3-7). The Coyotes were plus-14 on the glass, plus-24 in the paint, 19-4 off turnovers and 15-5 on second chances.

Spurred by a 46 percent shooting effort, the Coyotes cruised to a 42-21 cushion at halftime — spurred by 16 points from Contreras, including one at the buzzer.

But more than just on the court, Saturday’s game was filled with intrigue on the sidelines.

Ryan Larsen, the first-year head coach at Mines, spent five years as an assistant with USD, including last season’s run to the Summit League championship game. So yeah, he was familiar with the Coyote schemes.

“Everything they’re doing, I know what they’re doing, and I’m telling the team to do it, but we didnt defend it right,” Larsen said. “It was hard. I really like those kids, I care for them deeply.

“I would love to beat them, don’t get me wrong.”

Even his former players said they felt like Larsen had them scouted.

“The other team was calling out the other plays, so I thought that was kind of funny,” said USD sophomore point guard Tia Hemiller, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

“It was sad to see him go, but I was so happy to see him. It’s cool to play his team, and I think they’ll be a great team because he’s a great coach.”

Polly Harrington finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Coyotes, who host Northern Iowa on Tuesday.


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Polly Harrington 2-5 10-11 14, Lisa Loeffler 1-5 0-0 2, Tia Hemiller 3-8 2-2 10, Nicole Seekamp 4-7 5-7 13, Heidi Hoff 2-5 1-1 6, Bailey Milne 0-1 0-0 0, Madeleine White 3-6 0-0 6, Taylor Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Bridget Arens 5-6 1-3 11, Raeshel Contreras 5-9 5-5 19, Jaylah Jackson 0-4 0-0 0. TOTALS: 25-57 24-29 81.


S.D. MINES (3-7)


Jordan Needens 1-3 1-2 3, Devyn Asche 4-11 0-0 10, Renae Waters 0-5 0-0 0, Jessica Shull 2-6 4-4 10, Alexis Long 2-9 1-2 7, Brianna Huggins 0-1 0-0 0, Anne Soenneker 0-0 0-0 0, Krista Showalter 2-4 2-6 6, Carina Russell 1-2 0-0 2, Megan Rohrer 4-9 3-6 11, Mackenzie Kenney 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16-50 11-20 49.


At the half: USD 42, SDM 21. Three-Pointers: USD 7-20 (Contreras 4-8, Hemiller 2-3, Hoff 1-3, Harrington 0-1, Seekamp 0-1, Milne 0-1, Moore 0-1, Jackson 0-1), SDM 6-18 (Shull 2-3, Asche 2-4, Long 2-7, Needens 0-1, Showalter 0-1, Russell 0-1, Rohrer 0-1). Rebounds: USD 44 (Harrington 9), SDM 30 (Asche 7). Personal Fouls: SDM 22, USD 18. Fouled Out: Rohrer. Assists: USD 12 (Hemiller 3), SDM 10 (Long 3). Turnovers: SDM 15, USD 10. Blocked Shots: SDM 6 (Rohrer 2), USD 2. Steals: USD 8 (three with 2), SDM 2.

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