No. 15 UNK women’s basketball upset by Southwest Minnesota State

Published: Nov. 13, 2021 at 10:35 PM CST
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MARYVILLE, Mo. (KSNB) - Senior guard Meleah Reinhart scored 27 points and Southwest Minnesota State used a huge fourth quarter to rally past No. 15 Nebraska-Kearney, 76-66, Saturday night in Maryville, Mo.

The Mustangs improve to 2-0 while the Lopers fall to 1-1. The games were held at Northwest Missouri State.Facing a team picked to finish seventh out of 15 teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conf. (NSIC), UNK came out hot as it knocked down three treys and six free throws to lead 23-14 after the opening quarter. South Dakota junior guard Trinity Law had 10 of her 14 points over the first 10 minutes with South Dakota junior wing Klaire Kirsch and Iowa junior forward Shiloh McCool each grabbing four rebounds.

However, SMSU allowed UNK to score 31 points over the next two quarters to hang around. That included Kearney going 2 for 10 from behind the arc. Reinhart, who had 11 of her team’s 14 first quarter points, tallied four more in the second to put the ‘Stangs down 35-30 at the break. She is coming off a 2020-21 season where she averaged a team-best 16 a night.

In a game where it led for nearly 31 minutes, the Lopes were clinging to a 48-47 advantage when it closed the third on a 6-0 run. Colorado graduate point guard Haley Simental swished in a three from the corner and then found a wide-open McCool under the basket for a 54-47 lead and seemingly good momentum.

But it was all Southwest over the final 10 minutes as they sunk 7 of 9 field goals and 15 of 16 free throws. Senior guard Sadie Stetler and junior guard Jenna Borchers had eight points apiece with Reinhart adding seven more. The ‘Stangs led for the final 6:13 with UNK having back-to-back turnovers down 63-61.

Reinhart attacked the bucket all night long and finished 9 of 18 from the field and 9 of 10 at the line. She also grabbed eight defensive boards and had a team-best three steals. Next, Borchers had 16 on 7 of 15 shooting with Stetler making 7 of 8 freebies to reach 13 points. As a team SMSU tallied 21 points off of 16 Loper turnovers to overcome a minus eight rebounding margin.

UNK got 19 points from Kansas junior forward Elisa Backes. She was 9 of 20 from the field with Law netting her 14 points on five buckets (two 3′s). Six others scored including eight from Elkhorn post Brooke Carlson and seven by Simental. Finally, McCool had a team-best nine boards with Kirsch at eight before fouling out late.

The Lopers host Peru State Wednesday night.

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