UNK women’s basketball team defeats Nebraska Wesleyan at home

Local4 News at Ten Saturday
Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 11:51 PM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Graduate forward Kia Wilson had 16 points and nine rebounds, and eight teammates were between seven and eight points as Nebraska Kearney easily got past Nebraska Wesleyan, 81-34, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center. The Lopers (4-0) home stand continues Wednesday at 2 p.m. when the College of St. Mary Flames come to town. Division III NWU (0-3) fell behind 16-0 and 21-3 as UNK was hot early. The Lopers shot 62% over the first 10 minutes and hit three triples along the way. The Blue & Gold then scored 20 of the 23 points in the second quarter as they limited the Wolves to a 1 of 13 effort from the field.

”I’m proud of how hard they came out and battled, knowing we were the favorites and supposed to win,” said UNK head coach Drew Johnson. “We jumped on them early, but I would’ve liked for us to have played better in the third quarter. We didn’t start that second half very well.”

UNK shot just 29% (10 of 23) in the third quarter and was only 3 of 13 from behind the arc in the second half. That allowed NWU to lose the third by just a 12-11 score, but UNK came back to have 10 field goals in the fourth for a 24-8 margin.

”When you walk into the locker room and you’re up 35, trying to convince them they need to play hard in the next half can be tough,” said Johnson. “We bounced back after that lull and got rolling again.”

Wilson (St. George, Kan.), who previously was at Nebraska-Omaha and Fort Hays State, hit 6 of 9 shots and 4 of 6 freebies to reach her game-high point total while also having six defensive caroms. Among other starters, redshirt sophomore point Jillian Aschoff (Lincoln Pius) had eight points, six steals, two boards, and ran the fast break offense with veterans Meg Burns (Ankeny, Ia.) and Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) at eight points apiece.

”We’re trying to play fast, and we want to make sure we’re playing on a broken floor,” said Johnson. “Jill has been unbelievable in that, just being able to get the ball and push tempo.”

Off the bench, redshirt forward Riley Jensen (Bellevue East) had seven points in six minutes, redshirt freshman post Bailee Sobczak (Rapid City, S.D.) had a game-high 11 boards (seven offensive) and seven points, and junior point guard Halle Duft (South Weber, Utah) had six boards and four assists. UNK held NWU to 27% shooting, took advantage of 21 turnovers, grabbed 20 o-boards, and finished up 44% from the floor.

”We’re a team that is going to send bodies to the offensive glass. At halftime, we had only six o-boards, so we challenged them to get that number up in the second half,” said Johnson. “It’s a change in philosophy for our program, so we’ve got to make sure we’re really harping on that as we go along.”

Reserve Alexa Back hit three treys to leave the Wolves with nine points and three rebounds.

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