UNK women’s basketball extinguishes Flames in non-conference finale

Local4 News at Ten Saturday
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 11:08 PM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (Press Release) - Redshirt junior guard Sarah Schmitt and redshirt junior forward Lexi Moes both had career-high point totals to help No. 28 Nebraska Kearney roll past the College of St. Mary, 78-33, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center.

UNK finishes up the non-con slate at 7-1 while the Flames from Omaha remain at 3-5 as this was exhibition game for them per NAIA rules.

Schmitt (Swisher, Ia.) literally couldn’t miss as she led the Lopers to early leads of 12-2, 30-9 and 40-11. She made her first nine shots from the field and added seven rebounds and three assists to boot. In just 17 minutes of work the point guard hit four threes, a few runners to the rim and even rebounded an air balled three and put in in for a layup.

”First play we ran, they doubled the post right away so we knew they were going to try and eliminate or limit our touches in the paint,” said UNK head coach Carrie Eighmey. “So, Sarah hitting several threes in the first half was super helpful. It stretched the floor and opened things up for us.”

She missed her last shot attempt, a corner three, with her .900 percent accuracy tying for second best in school history (minimum 10 attempts). The school mark of 10 for 11 (.911 pct.) is shared by Cindy Hajek (1995 vs. Fort Hays) and Kelsey Sanger (2019 vs. Manhattan Christian) with Darcy Stracke also sinking 9 of 10 shots (1998 vs. Colorado Mines). Schmitt’s previous career offensive night of 18 points came earlier this month vs. Minnesota-Crookston.

”Sarah is a point guard so naturally she’s a leader for us. I think she is way more comfortable in our system and way more comfortable with her teammates. Having played here a year and knowing them better and kind of knowing what to expect and where they are going to be,” said Eighmey. “She also has worked really hard at shooting the ball. As you can see, it’s paying off.”

UNK extinguished the Flames to the tune of 2 of 13 shooting in the first quarter and a 1 of 13 mark in the second. The Lopers also finished the night plus 23 on the glass, leading to 24 second chance points, and got 45 bench points.

”Defensively we were pretty good … they didn’t have more than 12 points in any quarter. That’s an area that’s been consistent for us so far this year,” said Eighmey. “Second half they got a little bit more comfortable and hit a couple of shots. Offensively, we got off to a quicker start (than Wednesday afternoon). We scored a lot in transition then but today we got some good half court opportunities.”

Next, Moes (Smithville, Mo.) was one of 13 Lopers to score in the game, tallying 17. She went 6 of 8 from the field and 5 of 8 at the line while also grabbing four rebounds and having a steal. Thirteen of her points came over the final 10 minutes.

”Lexi has given us some quality minutes in the past two games and been super productive. You just see that growth and maturity,” said Eighmey.

Finally, Schmitt and Moes combined to go 15 of 18 from the field with the rest of the Lopers 14 of 47. That group included Elkhorn senior post Brooke Carlson (seven points, five rebounds & three blocks) and Imperial redshirt freshman guard Mallie McNair (five points).

UNK hosts Rogers State (2-4) and Northeastern State (3-1) next weekend to start MIAA play.