May 22, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Winning ways in South Dakota

An inside look at the Coyotes' culture and Karius' first season at the helm

In today’s episode of Locked on Women’s Basketball, host Missy Heidrick welcomes in South Dakota head coach Kayla Karius. Karius recently finished her first year at the helm after stints as an assistant coach at Sioux Falls (2015-16), South Dakota (2016-18), Wisconsin (2018-21) and Drake (2021-22).

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Karius talks about the adjustments required to transition from an assistant coach to the head coach:

“[A program] takes on a different personality when there’s a new person in charge. … Some of those things come easily, and some of those don’t. And sometimes you think you know what you want, and then you get into the mix of it and then you’re like, ‘That’s not at all what I was looking for in that.’ And, again, you learn along the way, and then now we’re all really excited for Year 2 because you have that to build off of.”


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In Karius’ first season in charge, the Coyotes had five season-ending injuries, four of which were torn ACLs, and finished with a 14-16 record. Karius talked about how her team regrouped amid all those injuries:

“This is where the culture jumps in. You have these moments, because it’s human nature, of sitting back and wondering what you’re doing wrong, or to be honest, you start to feel sorry for yourself. And you just have to fight it. …

“So we came up with this slogan … [One day, I] go to work in the morning, and in the car, I’m hearing the song on this radio and it’s called ‘Overcomer’ by Mandisa. … And we made T-shirts. Of course you gotta have T-shirts, and Overcomer’s plastered across the chest, and it just became sort of our mantra.”

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