UNK WBB: Lopers Don't Trail in Maryville, Win 67-60
Kearney, Neb. – Posts Brooke Carlson and Elisa Backes and guard Trinity Law combined for 52 points to help No. 16/15 Nebraska-Kearney lead from start to finish in a 67-60 win at Northwest Missouri State Saturday afternoon in Maryville.
The Lopers (14-2, 9-1) hand the Bearcats (11-4, 6-3) its second home loss in 10 outings. On Thursday night UNK handed Missouri Western its first home setback of the winter.
"It was a great road trip for us. We came into two places that are very difficult to play in … Northwest played Fort Hays really close on Wednesday night so we were aware of how good they are," said UNK assistant coach Devin Eighmey on the KRVN radio post-game show. "This was another big-time road win and finishing this weekend 2-0 is a big deal."
Facing a 'Cats defense that came into the week allowing a league-low 53 points a night, the Lopers tallied 20 first quarter points thanks to 10 of 17 shooting. Carlson (Elkhorn) tallied eight of her 16 points in the opening period as the Lopers zoomed out to a 16-6 lead and never looked back. They officially led for 39:46 and by as many as 15 points.
Law (Brandon, SD) was a big factor in the first 10 minutes as well as she provided four points, three steals, two assists and solid defense. UNK held at least a seven-point cushion in the second quarter with a triple from Backes (Salina, Kan.) making it a 14-point game, 36-22, right before halftime. She tallied 10 of her game-high 21 points in this quarter.
"We had some people show up and were in a good rhythm in the first half. We shared the ball and defended at a high level," said Eighmey. "Trinity and Klaire (Kirsch) were really good defensively early."
Getting 19 points from sophomore Molly Hartnett, Northwest made 7 of 9 shots (3 of 3 threes) to out score UNK 19-16 in the third quarter. While the deficit got down to five, the Lopers responded with a 5-0 spurt that featured a Carlson jumper and a triple from Backes. UNK went 7 of 8 from the line in the fourth and opened up a 62-51 lead with 1:35 remaining to hold off the 'Cats.
UNK shot 52% (27 of 52) from the floor, its second highest effort of the year. The Blue & Gold also got 29 bench points, had a plus five turnover margin and was efficient from behind the arc (5 of 12). Carlson reached her point total by making 8 of 12 shots, Backes was 8 of 11 (4 of 6 3's) from the field with Law having 11 of her 15 points after the break. Finally, junior Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, SD) had 10 rebounds, all at the defensive end. Backes is now up to 997 career points with Kirsch at 790 career boards.
"We played hard today and competed. I thought this weekend in practice we were really focused. The loss at home (last Saturday) wasn't our best performance," said Eighmey.
Hartnett was 7 of 11 from the floor (2 of 3 3's) with eight others getting into the scoring column for the ‘Cats.
UNK hosts Pittsburg State (11-5, 6-4) and Missouri Southern State (10-5, 7-3) next weekend.