BY JEREMY HOECK
If you watch the official video on YouTube of a song entitled “Can You Stand The Rain” by the band New Edition, you’ll see it has over 12 million views.
And it’s a safe bet a good number of those views are from the players and coaches with the University of South Dakota women’s basketball program.
The song was an idea head coach Amy Williams had for a kind of team theme song for the 2014-15 season — that is, until she found out the song was released in 1988, which meant none of her players knew it.
Still, the title of the tune seemed to fit the Coyotes.
“Last year was a lesson for us. The storms came,” Williams said Wednesday at Yankton Quarterback Club, where she was the featured speaker.
On their way to a Summit League tournament championship last season, the Coyotes had their share of obstacles to overcome.
Among those: A season-ending knee injury to starter Heidi Hoff, followed by an ankle injury to standout Niocle Seekamp, who would miss five games early in the conference season. And then there was an 0-4 start to that league schedule, forcing the Coyotes to have to dig out of an early hole.
“That would have been a really good time for us to crumble and fold,” Williams said. “But our girls never did, they stayed together.”
Once Seekamp returned to the lineup and returned to her dominant ways, she helped the Coyotes win seven of their final nine league games, and played a key role in USD winning the Summit League tournament title.
Having gone through those issues — while still reaching the NCAA Tournament, where USD lost to Stanford — only helps the Coyotes this season, Williams said.
“We know there are going to be some storms that come this year as well, but how well do you handle that?” she said. “That shows your true character.”
So far this season, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing for the Coyotes (7-2).
They dropped an 8-point game at Kansas — Williams said the program was a little disappointed it didn’t win that one — and then lost by 14 at Washington. The biggest win to date was a road win at Marquette, of the Big East Conference.
The Coyotes return to action Thursday night when they host NAIA University of Saint Mary, located in Leavenworth, Kansas — more famously known for the federal prison. The Spires are 2-9 this season under second-year head coach Bruce Erickson, who has past experience at Oklahoma State and Kansas City.