Interesting news out of Vermillion today: The University of South Dakota women’s basketball team will open its 2009-10 season against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay at the Sioux Falls Arena on Sunday, Nov. 15.
OK, a couple things here. First, this is a big-time opponent for the Coyotes. UW-Green Bay, a member of the Horizon League, had an awesome 2008-09 season. The Phoenix had a 29-4 record and earned a NCAA Tournament berth, but lost to LSU in the opening round. Still, Green Bay — which had an RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) of 46 — at one point last season won 21 straight games.
Secondly, this game will played at 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. By having this game moved up to Sioux Falls, USD is simply trying to tap the Sioux Falls market, which has done a great job supporting SDSU and The Summit League. As you can imagine, there is a large number of USD graduates in Sioux Falls, and this is a way for them to see the Coyotes up close and personal.
“USD has a strong alumni base in Sioux Falls, and we’re excited to be able to have a game for fans to attend in that growing market,” USD athletic director Joel Nielsen said in the release. “We expect our Coyote fans to support the game with their attendance.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll be saying it a lot in the coming months, but the USD women will have a scary team in 2009-10. The Coyotes not only return three starters (Jasmine Mosley, Kara Iverson, Annie Roche), but will add redshirts Amber Hegge, Teresa Case and Jackie Hiebert to the lineup. Plus, a good portion of last season’s reserves will be back.