March 28, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

UNK Women Win, Loper Men Fall in Kansas

Kearney, Neb. – Redshirt junior point guard Sarah Schmitt scored a career-high 26 points and redshirt junior forward Shiloh McCool had another double double as No. 12/17 Nebraska Kearney rolled past Newman, 73-46, Saturday afternoon in Wichita.

The Lopers (22-3, 15-2) have outscored its last three opponents by a combined tally of 249-145 to push its win streak to nine in a row. UNK also improves to 9-1 all-time against the Jets (6-15, 3-13) and is now in first place in the MIAA. No. 7 Central Missouri (14-2) fell at home today to No. 24 Missouri Southern, 70-69; UCM comes to the Health & Sports Center Thursday night.

“Winning is very difficult and it’s not common but they make it look sometimes like it is,” said UNK assistant coach Devin Eighmey on the KRVN Radio post-game show. “This group has won a lot but they are concentrating on getting better each day.”

After a 21-0 third quarter run Thursday night at Central Oklahoma, UNK took the drama out of today’s game by going on a 13-0 first quarter run. That made the score 13-3 and while NU hung around for a bit, the Lopers never trailed again.

With several of her teammates in foul trouble, Schmitt (Swisher, Ia.) provided the offense as she went 10 of 19 (5 of 7 threes) from the field and 1 of 2 at the line. She also had five rebounds and four assists over 35 minutes of work. Her previous career-high of 23 came earlier this year vs. the College of St. Mary.

Both Schmitt and McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) had 10 points at the break with McCool recording her fifth double double (14 points, 13 rebounds) in the last seven games. She’s up to 18 career double doubles, tied for sixth most in Loper lore. She made six freebies and four shots in working around three fouls, as did Schmitt.

After tearing up the next the last two games, UNK got off to a cold shooting start but warmed up in the second half (16 of 29; 55%). The Lopers reached double figures in triples (10) for a third straight game, held NU to 28% shooting (15 of 54) and limited Jet starters to 21 combined points.

Besides Schmitt and McCool, South Dakota super senior Klaire Kirsch had 12 points and nine boards, and Iowa redshirt junior Meg Burns supplied nine points and three assists. Newman was led by Valerija Liokina (12 points, two steals) and Britney Ho (11 points, 5 for 5 FT). “We got three home games left, five total. If you have an opportunity to come out and watch this group (super senior class), please do,” said Eighmey. “They are Hall of Famers and we’re indebted to this class.”

Central Missouri leads the all-time series with UNK by a 13-2 margin and has won the last five in the series.  

Kearney, Neb. – Six-six junior guard Stevie Smith scored 40 points and the Newman Jets went on a 17-0 run in the first half to down Nebraska Kearney, 84-74, Saturday evening in Wichita.

NU (7-15) takes the season series from UNK (4-18) with the Lopers now 2-2 all-time in Fugate Gym.

Strong, formerly of Division I Abilene (Texas) Christian), came into the weekend ranked fifth in the MIAA in scoring at just over 17 per game. He had that tally by halftime tonight and then went for 23 over the final 20 minutes.

“We thought we had a solid game plan (for Strong) but once he gets going, he’s hard to stop,” said UNK head coach Kevin Lofton on the KRVN Radio post-game show. “He can get to the basket, shoot the three. They are not a team you want to sit in a zone and tried to hide from because they can get hot.”

UNK used balanced scoring to jet out to a 38-21 lead 16 minutes into the game. That’s when the tides turned as NU scored the next 17 points before Colorado sophomore guard Sean Evans hit a jumper before the halftime buzzer. The Jets momentum continued, however, after the break as they scored 20 of the first 29 points. The Lopers hung around the rest of the way but could never get the deficit under four points.

“I told our team they can go on big runs and that’s pretty much what happened at the end of half,” said Lofton. “They kept the run going but we started to reel them back in but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”

Hitting shots from the parking lot, Strong finished 13 of 22 (7 of 12 threes) from the field and 7 of 8 at the line. Over 39 minutes he also had five rebounds and two assists. NU had two other double figure scorers in Latik Murphy (13) and Sam Somerhalder (11, 11 rebounds).

Newman shot 62% after the break and was close to 80% until late in the going. The Lopers shot an even 50% from the field, sunk 11 threes, was just minus four on the glass but committed 12 turnovers.

Evans went all 40 minutes and tallied a team-best 21 points on 7 of 9 (4 of 5 threes) shooting. He also had four boards, three assists, a block and steal. Next, Utah super senior Darrian Nebeker had 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting with Wahoo senior reserve Winston Cook at 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Finally, South Dakota sophomore forward Ryder Kirsch got close to a rare triple double (nine rebounds, eight assists, seven points).

“It’s a good group but we have to learn to have a more of a competitive spirit,” said Lofton. “Some way, somehow you have to find a way to create momentum for us.”

UNK hosts Central Missouri and Lincoln next weekend.


Source: Regional Sports