UNK Women down Missouri Western remain undefeated
Kearney, Neb. - Junior post Brooke Carlson had a double double and fifth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney held Missouri Western to 23 percent shooting to post a 59-34 win Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center.
The 9-0 start by the Lopers in the third best in school history, trailing only the 1998 (15-0) and 2001 (18-0) squads. The 22.6% shooting is a season-low by a UNK opponent with the 34 points tied for the fourth fewest points the Division II era (1990-present). The 34 points is the fewest allowed in an MIAA game, topping the 36 three years ago vs. Northeastern State.
"Last Saturday (vs. Central Missouri) was high tempo, mostly man-to-man defense, and going at each other. Today was all zone against us. That's one of the challenges going from game to game … you have to switch gears," UNK head coach Carrie Eighmey said. "Anytime you play against a zone and don't shoot it great it's going to be challenging. We didn't shoot it well tonight but we found ways to manufacture enough points."
Missouri Western (2-7) didn't score until hitting a deep three with 1:33 left in the first quarter. However, their morphing zone gave UNK some trouble in the early going. Up 13-5 after 10 minutes and 18-17 late in the second quarter, several transition buckets eventually got the Lopers rolling. A 21-2 run encompassing the end for the first half and second of the second featured six quick points by reserve forward Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.).
"Shiloh gave us a great boost. Our bench was big … that's the beauty and magic of our team. We have a lot of people who can step in and gave us some good minutes and a boost when we need it," Eighmey said. "In that second quarter Shiloh was really big for us."
Having a massive 53-29 rebounding margin and shooting 64% inside the arc, UNK led 29-17 at the half and by as many as 25 points overall. The Griffs finished just 12 of 53 from the field including a 4 of 22 from the three-point line. Mo West also was 6 of 12 at the line and saw its bench outscored 31-9.
All 11 Lopers who appeared scored with McCool at a team-high 11. She made 4 of 5 shots and added six rebounds (four offensive). Carlson recorded her third career double double by having 10 points and 10 rebounds (seven defensive) with South Dakota junior Klaire Kirsch at a team-high 11 caroms (eight defensive), four points and four assists. Next, Wahoo junior Aspen Jansa sunk three of UNK's five threes to tally nine with Iowa junior Maegan Holt at five points, five fouls drawn and four rebounds in 15 minutes.
"We needed close to a shoutout in the first quarter because we were struggling to score early. They do a good job of making something look open but it's not really open," Eighmey said. "It took us a little while to get accustomed to it. We eventually settled in and got a lot of open shots."
Seven Griffs scored led by eight from starter Logan Hughes.
UNK hosts NW Missouri State on Saturday. The Bearcats (3-4) fell at Fort Hays State tonight, 74-49.