The Coyote men look to have the easier assignment today than the Coyote women, which is just the opposite of Saturday night. But we know how that turned out. The men beat a Denver team that was picked to finish second in the Summit League and the women lost to a Denver team that had won just two games.
Not so ironically, the men were playing at home and the women were on the road. That remains the case this week with a struggling IUPUI team (5-14) facing the suddenly sorta hot Coyotes men’s team (three wins in a row).
The USD women, meanwhile must go on the road to play an IUPUI team that is 11-6 with a loss at Frost Arena followed by a stomping of NDSU in Fargo.
The Coyotes’ defensive problems have been well-documented the past few weeks with those issues coming to a hilt in a 91-84 loss at Denver last Sunday. In that game, Nicole Seekamp, who was coming off three weeks on the shelf with a bum ankle, played 31 minutes. It wasn’t the plan and he’s not yet back to 100 percent but she’s better than she was last week and will be able to account for herself more actively this week against an IUPUI team that tries to beat teams with quickness and pressure.
"It feels better than it has the last three weeks," Seekamp said on Tuesday while warming up for practice. "I’m taking it as it goes."
Seekamp was even further from full speed last Sunday, but she scored 13 points, primarily from the line.
"I just tried to do the things I could do," Seekamp said. "By being out there as long as I was, it did boost my confidence a little."
As tiresome as dwelling on defensive issues might be, the only way to move on to more interesting aspects of the team is by more adequately addressing present challenges. The Coyotes posted three wins over IUPUI last year which made a mark on the seasons of both teams.
Somehow, some way, the Coyotes were a very difficult matchup for the xxxxxx last year with the last USD victory one that vaulted the Coyotes into the Summit League championship final. IUPUI is led by DeAirra Goss, a 5-10 senior averaging 12.2 points and 4.2 rebounds a game and Nevena Markovic, a 6-4 junior, averages 10.8 points ad 6.1 rebounds.
Any resurgence in the defense will have to start with paying attention those two inside players. They have nine players averaging 15 minutes a game or more, however, so they have other threats.
"The Denver game was a wake-up call for us," Seekamp said. "It was probably the worst game we could have had defensively. It showed we need to work on defense — it’s a blaring thing — if we can correct it early then we’ll be right for the rest of the season."
The men will have the opportunity to continue to sustain an as yet still fresh turnaround against a team that has not had a lot of success so far. USD is never going to be in a position to think that there is going to be a lot of margin for error in a conference game, but some challenges are tougher than others. It doesn’t happen very often, but the Coyotes would have to be considered favorites going into a home contest with the Jags.
IUPUI is lead in scoring by Ian Chiles, a strong 6-1 guard who is averaging 17.1 points a game. Mitch Patton, a wide 6-9 post player, averages 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds.
"The two teams we’re playing this week are more athletic than Denver," USD men’s coach Joey James said. "You sit there and look at IUPUI’s record and it does not indicate the talent they have on that team. We’re going to have our hands full with the Patton kid and with Chiles."