06-Jan-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – Four starters scored in double figures to help 15th-ranked Central Missouri pull away from Nebraska-Kearney, 64-47, Saturday afternoon in Warrensburg.
With the effort, the defending national champions bounce back from a Thursday night loss to No. 5 Fort Hays State. The Jennies are now 9-3 (2-2) including a 3-1 home record.
UNK (8-5, 1-3) hung around most of the day thanks to a combined 28 points from sophomore starting guard Kelsey Sanger (Crofton) and freshman reserve post Brooke Carlson (Elkhorn). However, after trimming a 40-27 deficit to four by the end of the third quarter, UNK went cold and was just 4 of 15 (0 of 3 threes) from the field in the fourth. UCM made 8 of its 13 shots to win this 10 minute span by a 19-8 margin.
The Jennies bombed away all day, sinking 10 of 27 three pointers, and also had a plus nine rebounding margin, 40-31. The balanced attack featured 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists from Morgan Fleming and 11 points, nine assists and five boards from Paige Redmond. Finally, six different Jennies made at least one triple.
Making 3 of 11 threes and going 2 of 7 at the line, UNK was once again led by Carlson as she had 16 points on 7 of 13 shooting. She also had three rebounds and two blocks over 27 minutes. Next, Sanger had 12 thanks to 6 of 9 shooting with freshman guard Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, S.D.) grabbing a team-best nine rebounds, having three assists and a bucket.
The Lopers host No. 27 Central Oklahoma (11-3, 2-2) next Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center. The Bronchos were stunned at home by NW Missouri State today, 51-47.
28-Jan-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – Three players scored in double figures and Nebraska-Kearney held Missouri Western State to 25 percent shooting from the field to win 62-53 Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lopers (12-7, 5-5) improve to 10-2 at home and avenge a 60-57 setback to the Griffons (9-9, 4-5) in last year's MIAA Tournament.
It was not a thing of beauty as the teams combined for 48 fouls and 51 free throw attempts. Missouri Western had three players foul out with three Loper starters sitting some in the first half due to two fouls apiece.
UNK shot 44 percent (20 of 46) from the field and was plus eight on the glass but 20 turnovers helped the Griffs hang around. Using an offense predicated on driving to the rim and getting fouled, Mo West went 23 of 35 at the line to hang around until the end. The 35 attempts are the most by a Kearney opponent this year.
"I thought our energy was much better than Thursday and our communication was way better. That eliminates so many mistakes and we play so much better when we're communicating well on the court," said Loper head coach Carrie Eighmey. "With a young team, we work on our communication daily and it's something our team has improved upon as the year has gone on. But we still can get better.”
MWSU made five shots in the first and fourth quarters but were a combined 4 of 30 (1 of 7 threes) in the middle quarters. However, the Griffs whittled down a 15-point third quarter deficit to four, 57-53, with 46 seconds remaining. Freshman guard Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, SD) knocked down four straight free throws and freshman post Brooke Carlson (Elkhorn) added another to keep the Griffs at bay.
Missouri Western ended up 14 of 57 (2 of 9 threes) from the field. The 24.6 percent is the lowest by a Loper Division II opponent since Sioux Falls ended up at 23.6% in a 2012 loss. UNK had eight steals, blocked five shots and limited one of the MIAA's top three point shooters, Katrina Roenfeldt, to just eight shot attempts.
"As always we try and pay attention to who we're guarding and understand what they are good at. In the second half we did a better job of taking away their strengths and forcing them to do some things they aren't comfortable with," said Eighmey.
Offensively, Carlson had an efficient day, scoring a team-high 15 points in just 19 minutes. She was 6 of 6 from the field and 3 of 5 at the line. Next, Iowa freshman forward Maegan Holt had 13 points and seven rebounds (four offensive) with Kirsch providing 11 points, five caroms and five assists in 27 minutes off the bench.
"One of the things we challenged our kids today was to be willing to expend some energy to get great shots and not settling for average ones," said Eighmey. "
MWSU had three starters reach double digits, led by guard Melia Richardson with 11.
UNK hosts No. 8 Fort Hays State (18-1, 9-1) next Saturday.
07-Feb-2019 / UNK Lopers
Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney women's basketball team took advantage of an officials review and finished on a 22-5 run to rally past Missouri Southern State, 50-44, Thursday night in Joplin.
The Lopers improve to 13-8 (6-6) while the Lions fall to 12-11 (4-9). UNK is now in a tie with Missouri Western State for seventh place in the MIAA.This was the first game Kearney was minus sophomore Kelsey Sanger (Crofton) who was injured in the second half in last Saturday's OT loss to No. 6 Fort Hays State. It's expected she'll return sometime this season.
"Our kids were tough all night. We defended at a high level and I thought we hit some shots we maybe normally don't," said Loper assistant coach Devin Eighmey. "A win on the road in this league is very difficult and I think the thing that is really neat is that we did it without one of our better and most reliable players. We also got good news on her and she’ll be back."
On a day where ice and cold weather canceled classes at Missouri Southern, the two teams waged a defensive battle throughout. The Lopers and Lions combined to go 37 of 108 (34%) from the field with 32 turnovers. UNK led 11-8 after one quarter but tallied just 17 point over the next two to fall behind by nine.
Missouri Southern got some unexpected production from graduate transfer post Laure Assena (team-high 14 points) and reserve forward Morgan Brightwell (seven rebounds) to lead 37-28 entering the fourth. A bucket by senior Chelsey Henry, the MIAA's leading scorer at 17.3 points per game, made it 39-28 with 7:17 to play. UNK countered with a triple from freshman reserve Elisa Backes (Salina, Kan.) 14 seconds later to start the big run. On the play, freshman post Brooke Carlson (Elkhorn) got tangled up with Assena and a double foul was assessed after a five minute delay.
"Elisa hit that three to kind of get us going. That double foul helped us settle in … we got a nice little break there. We talked about focusing on what we can control," said Eighmey. "We can control our communication, defense and rebounding. If we do that, good things usually happen."
UNK scored nine of the next 11 points to tie things up at 40, the first time the Lopers weren't behind since early in the second quarter. While the Lions hit one of two free throws to go back on top with 3:17 left, Kearney closed on a 10-3 run that featured two layups by freshman forward Maegan Holt (Council Bluffs, Ia.). The second came with 10 seconds left and the shot clock running down. The game clinching bucket, a backdoor reverse layup, made it 48-44.
The Lopers gave up 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and 17 turnovers led to 20 Lions points. However, UNK made 8 of 13 shots (2 of 3 threes) and went 4 of 4 at the line in the fourth quarter.
Carlson (12) and Backes (11) combined for 23 points on 9 of 17 shooting. Backes went 3 of 6 from behind the arc with Carlson pulling down a team-best nine rebounds. Next, Holt had 10 points (2 of 3 threes) with freshman guard Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, SD) limiting Henry to nine points on 4 of 14 shooting. Going 35 minutes from the point guard spot, she had seven rebounds, four assists, two points, a block and steal.
"Klaire did an outstanding job (on Henry). She has an ability to do whatever needs to be done and her mental toughness is off the charts. She's a winner and we have a lot of those kids," said Eighmey.
Assena, a 6-1 Cameron native who previously was at Division I Lipscomb (Tenn.) reached her team-best point total in just 17 minutes. She went 6 of 10 from the field and had three offensive rebounds. Six other Lions scored with starter Destiny Cozart joining Henry with nine points.
UNK heads to Pittsburg State on Saturday afternoon. The Gorillas (17-5, 9-4) were blasted by Fort Hays State tonight, 78-53. That marks their third straight home loss.
04-Jan-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – True freshmen Elisa Backes and Brooke Carlson scored 18 points apiece to help Nebraska-Kearney rally past Southwest Baptist, 74-70, Thursday night in Bolivar, Mo.
By erasing a deficit as big as 13 points, this young Loper team (8-4, 1-2) picks up its first road win of 2018-19 and drops SBU (4-8, 1-2) to 4-4 on its home court.
"Before the game we talked about when adversity hits to just be the same people and keep fighting. We're really proud of our how our group battled," said Loper assistant coach Devin Eighmey. "We had a rugged start but found a way in the end."
One of the top scoring teams in the MIAA, the Bearcats showed why early on as they erupted for 26 points in the first quarter. SBU sunk 11 of its first 19 shots, including a 4 of 5 effort from behind the arc, to build leads of 26-15 and 30-17.
UNK slowed things down and whittled the deficit to five, 49-44, by halftime. The Lopers limited the 'Cats to 4 of 16 shooting (25.0 pct.) in the second quarter while going 5 of 6 at the line. However, SBU countered with a strong start to the third quarter, going up 49-38 after Laura Vierkant made two free throws for her only points of the game. UNK closed on a 6-0 run that featured four points from Carlson (Elkhorn H.S.) and a layup by Wahoo freshman guard Aspen Jansa.
The Lopers finally regained the lead, 50-49, early in the fourth quarter after a put back bucket by Backes (Salina, Kan.). The teams then traded blows, UNK going up by four and then SBU moving ahead by three. Finally, Kearney outscored the 'Cats 7-5 in the final 56 seconds with Backes tallying six and blocking a late three point attempt.
The UNK bench outscored the SBU reserves by a whopping 47-12 margin. The teams combined for 33 offensive rebounds with the Lopers managing 20 second chance points. A tightly called game, UNK was a solid 26 of 34 at the line. SBU, meanwhile, attempted just 15 freebies.
"We talked at halftime about how great our bench was. They kept us in it and even the players not in the game were talking, being positive and supporting each other," said Eighmey.
Facing All-MIAA post Caylee Richardson, Carlson reached her season-high point total by making 6 of 8 shots and 6 of 7 free throws. Getting Richardson into foul trouble, Carlson also had a team-high seven rebounds. Next, Backes tied her season-high point total thanks to seven made free throws and five made field goals (one three). Her point total came in just 17 minutes and she has now made 12 of her last 17 shots to be at a team-high 63 percent on the season.
Finally, Crofton starting guard Kelsey Sanger had 11 points, five boards and four steals in a team-best 38 minutes.
"Brooke continues to get better each day in practice. She went to what she knows in her training so it was really cool to see her have a big game," said Eighemy.
SBU saw four of its starters score in double figures led by guard RayShee Smith (16) and forward Morgan Henderson (16). Richardson had 13 points and six rebounds over 28 minutes.
UNK plays defending national champion Central Missouri Saturday afternoon. The 15th-ranked Jennies fell tonight at home to fifth-ranked Fort Hays State, 56-46.
11-Jan-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – Four players scored in double figures and Nebraska-Kearney started the second half on an 8-0 run to roll past Central Oklahoma, 74-58, Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center.
UNK (9-5, 2-3) improves to 8-1 at home while the sliding Bronchos fall to 11-4 (2-3). Less than a month ago UCO was ranked 22nd in the WBCA Division II Top 25 poll but has now dropped three of four.
The Lopers overcame the loss of leading scorer Kelsey Sanger (Crofton), who was called for two fouls in the first six minutes, to lead 35-29 at the break. Sanger sat out the last 14 minutes of the half but her teammates closed the second quarter on a 7-1 run to grab the lead for good.
Sanger made up for lost time by knocking down a corner three to start the second half. Freshman guard Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, S.D.) followed with another triple and then stole the ball which led to a Sanger layup and a 43-29 lead. UCO called timeout but never got closer than 12 points the rest of the night.
"Our end of the first half was really good and then we came out to start the second half and a couple of shots went down. We also strung together three or four defensive stops and that's deflating for the other team," said Loper head coach Carrie Eighmey.
Hitting four of its five threes in the third quarter, UNK made 48% (28 of 59) of its shots, was plus eight on the glass and had a 46-28 advantage in points in the paint. Finally, 13 offensive caroms led to 14 second chance points.
"We played great team defense. Our team did a great job of executing the game plan and defended without fouling," said Eighmey. "Each week we get better and better at team defense. We're beginning to understand you guard the ball and not just one player."
A balanced attack was led by freshman post Brooke Carlson (Elkhorn H.S.) who had a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. She was 7 of 14 from the field with five of her boards coming at the offensive end. Next, Sanger had 13 of her 15 points after the break with sophomore guard Adreon Bell (Independence, Mo.) supplying 10 points, five boards and for dimes.
Off the bench, freshman guard Aspen Jansa (Wahoo) knocked two threes to tally 12 with freshman forward Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) getting close to her third double double of the year (10 rebounds and eight points).
"Early in the game they were trying to pressure us in the full court to disrupt our offense. They are really good in transition and they were trying to create opportunities," said Eighmey. "Once we settled in and grasped what they were trying to do to us I thought our team got more comfortable. We were able to go down and execute and then we were able to get several stops in a row at the defensive end."
UCO was led by junior post Ireon Smith (14 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals). UCO shot just 36% (22 of 62) from the field, including a 4 of 21 effort from behind the arc.
UNK hosts the Northeastern State RiverHawks Saturday afternoon at two. NSU (3-11, 0-5) fell at No. 4 Fort Hays State tonight, 88-50.
25-Jan-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats sunk 12 three pointers and shot 95 percent at the line to beat Nebraska-Kearney, 74-62, Thursday evening at the Health & Sports Center.
Northwest improves to 7-10 (3-5) and evens its road record at 3-3. The 'Cats also beat the Lopers (11-7, 4-5) for a second time in three years; last winter UNK needed a furious rally to win the lone matchup between the two, 88-79 in overtime.
The MIAA leader in free throw percentage at 80.2 percent, Northwest salted things away by making 20 of 21 freebies. Leading for almost the entire night, the 'Cats work at the line included a 15 of 16 effort in the fourth quarter.
Northwest came in averaging 59 points per game on seven made threes. Those numbers will rise as they made at least two treys in each quarter and finished 21 of 49 (43%) from the field to record its second highest point total of the season.
"They are good shooters and early on we gave them some open looks. They made those and from there they shot it with a lot of confidence," said Loper head coach Carrie Eighmey. "With a young team, sometimes your offense can dictate your defense. We struggled to finish some shots around the rim early and I thought made us a little bit hesitant."
UNK, shooting a respectable 42.6 percent (20 of 47) from the floor, led 2-0 but that was its only lead of the night. Down six at the half, the Lopers used a 7-0 run midway through the third quartered to tie things up at 41. The spurt was capped when Wahoo freshman guard Aspen Jansa turned a steal by Kansas freshman Elisa Backes into a three-point play.
However, Northwest closed the quarter on a 9-1 run that included two triples and three free throws by junior starter Kenedy Eaton. She was fouled right before the buzzer sounded.
"Defensively (Northwest) played with good effort and energy and were well prepared," said Eighmey. "I also thought we were stagnant on both ends of the floor and didn't play with a great deal of energy."
Led by Eaton (9 of 9), Northwest kept UNK at bay in the fourth with a series of made foul shots. The Lopers trimmed the deficit to six on two different occasions but that was as close as they would get.
Four starters and one reserve reached double figures for Northwest, led by sophomore guard Jaelyn Haggard (16) and Eaton (15). Haggard went 4 of 9 from down town with junior guard Erika Schlosser 4 of 8. She also had seven assists, two steals and finished with 13 points.
UNK used nine players and each scored but none had more than 10. Iowa freshman forward Maegan Holt made four free throws and hit two treys to score 10 with Missouri sophomore guard Adreon Bell hitting some tough shots in the lane to finish with nine points and three boards. Finally, Backes led the bench with eight points, three blocks, three boards and two steals.
The Missouri Western State Griffons (9-8, 4-4), who eliminated the Lopers from last year's MIAA Tournament, visit Saturday. They fell tonight at No. 8 Fort Hays State, 67-50.
10-Feb-2019 / UNK Lopers
Kearney, Neb. – Junior forward Athena Alvarado had a double double and Pittsburg State led from start to finish in beating Nebraska-Kearney, 68-42,Saturday afternoon in Kansas.
The Gorillas (18-5, 10-4) stop a three-game home losing streak while theLopers (13-9, 6-7) fall to 3-5 on the road.
Shooting 45 percent from the field and having a plus 13 rebounding margin, Pitt scored the game's first six points and never looked back. UNK, tallying eight points in the first quarter and nine in the second, was down 25-17 with 3:24 left in the half after a bucket by freshman post Brooke Carlson(Elkhorn). The Gorillas promptly went on a 19-0 run over the next seven minutes to put things on ice.
UNK's season-low point total came on a season-low 24 percent (15 of 62) shooting. The Lopers went 5 of 18 from behind the arc, 10 of 44 inside and made 7 of 13 free throws.
"I thought our effort was good and we played hard. But at times we didn't execute the right way … we missed some plays in the first half that would've made the score closer. We had a lot of easy shots that we missed," said Loper assistant coach Devin Eighmey.
A six-footer, Alvarado went 6 of 8 from the floor to score 12 with five of her 13 rebounds coming on the offensive end. Reserves Tristan Gregg (13) andSydnee Crain (12) combined for 25 points as they hit three triples and four free throws.
UNK was led by freshman reserve forward Elisa Backes (Salina, Kan.) who had 11 points and six rebounds. She was 3 of 6 from behind the arc with all six of her boards coming on the defensive end. Next, freshman forwardShiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) had 10 points and six rebounds with Carlson pulling down seven boards and scoring six.
Kearney hosts the Lincoln Blue Tigers (10-12, 2-11) on Thursday night. Lincoln beat Northwest Missouri State, 64-51, today at home.
17-Jan-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – Wayne State transfer Alexis McAfee made a backdoor layup with three tenths of a second remaining in overtime to lift Washburn to a 62-60 win over Nebraska-Kearney Wednesday night in Topeka, Kan.
The Ichabods (11-4, 6-0) have won nine in a row to move into sole possession of first place in the MIAA while the Lopers fall to 10-6 (3-4) and to 2-3 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Both teams came in among the national leaders in scoring defense, allowing less than 59 points per game. Neither squad led by more than five points all night and there was an unprecedented 17 lead changes and 13 ties. UNK shot 50% (24 of 48) from the field against the stingy WU defense but also committed a season-high 26 turnovers and gave up 18 offensive rebounds. The 'Bods won despite shooting 35% (25 of 69) from the field but sunk eight threes and tallied 15 points off those 26 Loper miscues.
A three from the top of the key by freshman Maegan Holt (Council Bluffs, Ia.) tied things up at 60 with 32 seconds left in the extra session. The 'Bods tallied the first four points in overtime to grab a 60-56 lead but freshman reserve guard Aspen Jansa (Wahoo Bishop Neumann) went one of two at the free throw line with 2:03 left to start the comeback.
After Holt's second triple of the night, Washburn called a timeout to advance the ball past half court. Star guard Reagan Phelan drove the lane with seconds remaining and was surrounded by the UNK defense. However, McAfee went back door from the right wing to tally the winner. The 5-9 guard and Kansas native finished with nine points, four assists and three steals. Phelan had a team-high 13 points as well as six dimes and five thefts.
"I feel for our kids. They competed and played hard and did everything they could at the very end but Washburn made a play," said Loper assistant coach Devin Eighmey. "We do have some things to clean up. We didn't value basketball at times … we had 26 turnovers and lost by two."
The Lopers grabbed a 55-53 lead with 2:39 remaining in regulation after a layup by Crofton sophomore Kelsey Sanger. WU sunk about a minute later to regain the lead but Sanger went one of two at the line with 18 seconds left to knot things up once more. The 'Bods had two chances to win in the final five seconds but two shots didn't drop.
"Credit to them. They pressured us on the wing and got after us in the post in the second half," said Eighmey. "To give that much effort and to lose by two in overtime on a back cut with three tenths of a second left is tough. We'll learn from this and regroup."
Four Loper starters reached double figures, led by Sanger and Elkhorn freshman post Brooke Carlson who had 16 apiece. They combined to go 12 of 22 from the field and also managed 13 rebounds, five assists and five steals. Next, Holt had 12 and four boards with South Dakota freshman guard Klaire Kirsch supplying 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Finally, Sanger, Holt and Kirsch each logged at least 40 minutes.
Besides Phelan and McAfee, Washburn got 12 points and three offensive caroms from Idaho State post transfer Nicole Murugarren and nine points in 17 minutes from Austin Peay State (Tenn.) transfer Shelbe Pggie.
UNK faces Emporia State on Sunday afternoon. The Hornets (12-4, 3-3) hit a three with 17 seconds left to hand No. 3 Fort Hays State its first loss of the year, 54-51.
21-Jan-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – Freshman post Brooke Carlson scored five late points to help Nebraska-Kearney stun Emporia State, 64-62, Sunday afternoon in Kansas.
This is the Lopers (11-6, 4-4) first win at White Auditorium since the 1988-89 season. At that time it was Kearney State College and both the Lopers and Hornets (12-5, 3-3) were members of the Central States Intercollegiate Conference (CSIC).
Emporia was coming off a last second 54-51 win over previously unbeaten Fort Hays State Wednesday night. UNK suffered a last second loss at Washburn that same evening and came out a bit angry today, jumping out to leads of 6-0, 12-4 and 20-7.
That lead only grew in the second quarter with Kearney up 34-15 at the break. Ahead by as many as 22 points, everything went right for the Lopers over the first 20 minutes. UNK was 14 of 29 from the field (48%), made 3 of 4 free throws, forced nine turnovers and held ESU to 6 of 27 (22%) shooting. For added measure, two key Hornet starters had two fouls apiece.
However, E-State started to warm up a bit in the third quarter, hitting 8 of 13 (3 of 5 threes) shots. The Lopers held off the Hornets a bit thanks to four threes but it was 50-35 entering the final quarter. That's when Emporia really made its move, starting the final 10 minutes on a 14-0 run. UNK was just 2 of 19 (11%) from the field in the fourth but a three-point play from Carlson (Elkhorn H.S.) with 2:14 left erased a 54-53 deficit. Overall, ESU led for just 2:42 on the day.
At the 1:37 mark UNK benefitted from a key call as junior guard Jessica Wayne was called for a flagrant foul while trying to steal the ball from Carlson. She promptly hit the two free throws and then sophomore guard Kelsey Sanger (Crofton) did the same six seconds later on the ensuing possession. Now down 60-54, Emporia had a chance to tie things up at 60 but a three from grad transfer Emily Miller with 20 seconds left misfired and UNK went 4 of 6 at the line to salt things away
"With their rich tradition, they have like a 92 or 93 winning percentage in this building. For us to come in here against a well-coached team and win …. we're just proud of our girls. What a first half; I'm not sure I've ever been a part of a half like that," said Loper assistant coach Devin Eighmey. "They started to speed us up in the second half but we withstood that for the most part. We were aggressive against their pressure."
Another balanced Loper attack featured double doubles by freshman starting guard Klaire Kirsch (14 points, 11 rebounds & five assists) and freshman reserve forward Shiloh McCool (14 points & 12 rebounds) and a team-best 18 points from Sanger. Carlson managed seven points, six assists, four boards and two blocks battling 6-3 senior post Tiana Moala and 6-0 senior forward Tyra Jones.
This marked McCool's team-high fourth double double of the year and Kirsch's first.
"We're connected right now. You can't fake it and you can't make it up. Our kids like each other, they let us coach them and they are fun to be around," said Eighmey. "Credit our team for bouncing back and to come in here and win."
UNK had a 39-32 rebounding margin, had a 10-2 advantage in second chance points and a 20-6 advantage in bench points. Finally, 21 Lopers points came courtesy of 19 Hornet turnovers.
Emporia saw Jones get hot in the second half and finish with a double double (20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists & three steals) with two other starters combining for 25 points. The Hornets went 17 of 29 (59%) from the field after the break but also made just 8 of 14 free throws overall.
"We're going to celebrate this one a little bit longer than the 12-hour rule," said Eighmey. "And then we'll see if we can continue to this momentum, get better and protect our homecourt."
UNK hosts Northwest Missouri State (6-10, 2-5) and Missouri Western State (9-7, 4-3) next weekend.
31-Dec-2018 / UNK Athletics
Kearney Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney women’s basketball team closed the night on a 36-7 run to beat York College, 82-53, Saturday at the Health & Sports Center.
Returning from the Holiday Break, the Lopers improve to 7-4 and are now 7-1 at home. The Panthers remain at 5-11 as this was an exhibition game per NAIA rules.
York hung around for two and half quarters thanks to seven three pointers, several of the banked variety, and 16 rebounds from reserve Maria Lopez. A three off the glass by starter Amaia Diaz made it 46-40 with 4:33 in the third quarter. That capped a 15-7 Panther run but it was all Kearney from there.
UNK scored 14 of the next 15 points to push its lead back into double digits. This stretch included a three-point play from reserve Elisa Backes (Salina, Kan.), a triple from starting guard Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, S.D.) and four York turnovers. The Lopers continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter as they made four three pointers and six free throws. Meanwhile, York went 4 of 18 (1 of 7 threes) over the final 10 minutes.
All 13 UNK players got into the scoring column with Backes and sophomore starter Kelsey Sanger (Crofton) tying for the lead at 14 apiece. Sanger also had five steals and four assists with Backes making 5 of 6 shots (3 of 3 threes) while grabbing seven boards.
Next, freshman reserve post Brooke Carlson (Elkhorn) had nine points and four assists, Kirsch had 11 points and five rebounds and freshman starting forward Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) got close to a double with nine rebounds and seven points.
York also had a balanced attack and was paced by starting guard Melody Thomsen with 12 points and four assists.
UNK heads to Southwest Baptist (Thurs.) and defending national champion Central Missouri (Sat.) this weekend.