Peter Yazvac, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
KEARNEY – Three players scored in double digits to help Nebraska-Kearney hold off Washburn, 62-52, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lopers improve to 2-0 and have now won 28 of its last 34 games, dating back to the start of last season.
UNK led Washburn (0-1) for nearly the entire way but saw a 19-point third quarter lead whittled down to seven on three separate occasions in the fourth The deep Lopers had a response each time thanks to buckets by guards Haley Simental (Pueblo West, Colo.) and Trinity Law (Brandon, S.D.).
“Washburn’s strategy was to limit our possessions; we took 50 shots and that’s a decently slow pace for a college game. They’ve always been a really solid defensive team … they are not a team you’re going to score on easily,” UNK head coach Carrie Eighmey said. “We knew we would have to work to get good shots.”
Getting scoring from nine different players, UNK was up 35-23 at the half and then by 17 late in the third. The ‘Bods, who got a team-high 12 points from sophomore reserve Macy Doebele, started the final period strong. A Doebele rebounded a missed Loper shot and then scored at the other end, making it 51-44 with 6:12 to play.
Simental, finishing with five points and five assists, responded with her only three of the game soon after. Three minutes later WU got jumper in the lane to get it down to seven again, 57-50, with Law putting down the Law. She made back-to-back buckets, including her second triple on the day, that finished the game’s scoring.
“When we were up 19 in the third with six to go we thought we were in control. I felt like we probably could’ve put it away there if we had three or four good possessions,” Eighmey said. “Unfortunately, we kind of let them back in it and it turned into a game in the fourth.”
UNK was plus five on the glass, got 29 bench points and sent WU to the line only twice. Elkhorn junior post Brooke Carlson was busy early and finished with a team-best 13 points with Iowa junior wing Maegan Holt at 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Law tallied a career-best 13 points in 23 minutes, sinking 5 of 10 shots while also having two steals and two boards.
“Trinity’s playing well for us and has great burst.. She’s not afraid of those big moments and defensively she gave us some really good energy. She had a couple of deflections and steals that were big,” Eighmey said.
Doebele had 10 of her 12 points in the second half. WU also got seven points, six rebounds and three steals from senior guard Hunter Bentley.
UNK hosts rival Fort Hays State (0-0) on Dec. 5. The Tigers had games vs. WU and Emporia State this weekend postponed.