Most heartening for the Coyote women’s team, in a 72-60 loss to SDSU, was hanging in there on the rebounds. I know that statistically this was to be expected given the Coyotes’ numbers this year, but it’s been a Jackrabbit advantage in these matchups going back to the end of the NCC days.
I was very interested in Aaron Johnston’s take on this new Amy Williams version of the Coyotes. AJ generously offered what I would call an expert opinion, saying the Coyotes’ style of play this year makes them tougher to guard. Part of that involves personnel, obviously, but in the absence of Amber Hegge, the team has been more industrious on the boards and on offense than I anticipated. The boards part is because Margaret McCloud and Polly Harrington are tough underneath. The offense is surprising because they’re, as Johnston said, tougher to guard.
I was very skeptical coming into the season — and would have been regardless of who was coaching — in USD’s ability to replace the scoring that departed when Hegge and Annie Roche graduated. If Tempestt Wilson can continue at something near the pace she was setting on Sunday afternoon, the Coyotes will continue to win games in the conference. To date, they played a UNO team that is solid for a transitional program, but probably not headed for the upper half of the conference. They then rolled a scuffling NDSU team after a bad first half and then lost by 12 on the road to the 2012-13 league champions. (It’s a lock.)
Johnston also talked of how hard the Coyotes were playing, which to me means — if he wasn’t just being polite — that the new coaches have been able to motivate. I’ve never coached anything, but it seems to me that when a new coach comes in and begins ordering around people he/she didn’t recruit, there’s the potential for motivational issues. The game against the Jacks, while a loss, seemed confirm that’s not going to be a problem this year.
I don’t think the Summit League is as tough as it was a year ago with the departure of Oral Roberts. This gives the Coyotes, picked to finish sixth in a preseason poll, an opportunity to end up much higher in the standings than many expected.
Nobody from the league will beat SDSU at Frost this year, and I sorta doubt anyone is going to have much luck with them anywhere else, either. A few of their recent teams were probably stronger in some areas, but I think the margin over the rest of the Summit is significant. More telling as to the quality of USD’s team this year will be whether or not the Coyotes can beat up the fair-to-middlin’ teams, and do it consistenly both at home and on the road.
Bonus here….my personal ranking of the spelling of the common last name that most often appears as “Peterson”.
1. Peterson — tried-and-true, baby…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The go-to spelling of this last name.
2. Pederson — uncommon, and probably closer to the phonetic pronounciation most people use.
3. Petersen — It’s fine, as far as it goes, but seems to project some uncertainty…”Really? Is this the way we want to spell it?”
4. Pedersen — Beauty is in the eye of the beholder on something like this, but three e’s and a d in a last name? Seems a little excessive to me. Could easily be interpreted as a plea for attention.