KEARNEY, Neb. - Sophomores Brooke Carlson and Maegan Holt combined for 34 points and 13 rebounds to help No. 23/30 Nebraska-Kearney down Newman, 59-46, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
UNK (22-2, 11-2) is now just a game out of first place in the MIAA standings as No. 11/18 Central Missouri (18-4, 12-1) fell today at Missouri Western State, 67-57. The Lopers are in Warrensburg next Saturday afternoon.
To win a 10th straight game, the longest win streak in 11 years, UNK had to tangle with the Jets (9-15, 4-11) zone defense and patient offense. NU, now on a six-game skid, ran the shot clock down on most possessions and managed to make a late run after being down by as many as 23 points. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw%3D%3D
"They play a different style and go with a two three zone the entire game. We didn't shoot the ball very well today and against a zone that can be a little bit challenging. It makes it trickier to stretch the floor when you're not making shots," UNK head coach Carrie Eighmey said. "We hit only two threes so I thought we did a good job of finding other ways to manufacture some points. Our bigs did a good job of getting to the line and making shots around the rim to help us build the lead."
Just 7 of 34 (20.5 pct.) from the field in the second half, UNK was up 51-39 with 5:08 remaining. Carlson (Elkhorn), having a career-day at the line, made two free throws and then Holt (Council Bluffs, Ia.) made a layup after a Jet miss. That made it 55-39 and ended any hope of a NU comeback.
"I thought we managed the game pretty well. Late they went a little bit more to their full court press … we had only three turnovers so I thought we handled the ball really well," Eighmey said. "The shots that we took, including the threes, were fairly wide open. We just weren't able to knock them down today."
Carlson tallied 11 of her game-high 19 points at the line with Holt 6 of 15 from the field to tally 15. UNK was just 2 of 18 from the three point line but Carlson and Holt helped the Lopers have a 30-14 advantage in points in the paint.
Next South Dakota sophomore Klaire Kirsch had 12 rebounds and four assists and Crofton junior Kelsey Sanger went for nine points and two steals. The pair also were key in shutting down NU start Kaitlyn Potter who came in averaging well over 16 points per game. She finished with 12 points but was just 3 of 17 (0 of 9 threes) from the field.
Newman finished 15 of 54 (27.8 pct.) from the floor but did get 30 bench points and sunk 13 of 15 free throws. Seven others besides Potter scored including a near double double by reserve Haley Albers (eight points and eight rebounds).
Before the showdown with the UCM Jennies the Lopers are at Lincoln (3-19, 0-13) on Thursday night.