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Kearney, Neb. – Junior guard Lindsay Medlen converted a layup with a tenth of a second remaining to help No. 25 Lindenwood edge Nebraska-Kearney, 66-64, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lions (17-4, 11-4) rebound from a loss at No. 4 Fort Hays State on Thursday night while the Lopers (14-10, 7-8) continued to be tied for seventh place in the MIAA.
In a game with 12 lead changes and eight ties, it fittingly came down to the last minute. Trailing 62-61, UNK went to Iowa freshman Shiloh McCool (season-high 21 points) who had drove past the Lions all afternoon. However, this attempt misfired but Elkhorn freshman Brooke Carlson was there for not only the rebound but a three-point play. That made it 64-62 with 1:04 left.
Twenty seconds later, Medlen tied things up for the final time thanks to two made free throws. UNK called time out and again and went to McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) who saw her driving layup go all away around the rim but come out and into the hands of Medlen. There was now just 18 seconds remaining.
The Lions promptly called a timeout to setup a play for junior post Kallie Bildner (30 points & 12 rebounds). However, UNK clogged the lane and forced reserve guard Jade Giron to drive on the right baseline. Medlen slashed in from the wing and fought threw a couple of Loper defenders to get up the winning shot.
“We battled and it came down to a couple of possessions at the end. We had a layup that rimmed out … it would’ve put us in the situation that they were in,” said Loper head coach Carrie Eighmey. “I thought we defended the (last shot) possession fairly well. They got close to the rim, we helped on the drive and they found the open guy and finished the shot at the rim. We couldn’t have guarded it much better than we did.”
A three-time All-MIAA pick who averages a double double on the season, Bildner went 12 of 19 from the floor (1 of 4 threes) and 5 of 6 at the line. Nine of her rebounds came at the defensive end and she also had three assists and a steal over 37 minutes.
Lindenwood managed 13 points off 12 Loper miscues with both teams scoring 40 points in the paint. UNK sunk all 13 free throws it attempted but was 3 of 12 from behind the arc to finish at 43 percent (24 of 56) overall.
“We got a good luck at the rim (in the final minute). Shiloh made a great play and it just didn’t go down. It was as close as it gets without actually going in,” said Eighmey. “Bildner is a really, really good player. She creates a lot of positive things for them and today she finished around the rim well.”
Reaching double digits for a third straight game, McCool was 6 of 15 from the field and 9 of 9 at the line. Logging a team-high 35 minutes, she also had five rebounds, a block, assist and steal.
Battling Bildner in the post, Carlson had 13 points with six other Lopers reaching the scoring column. That included Wahoo freshman reserve guard Aspen Jansa (eight) and South Dakota freshman Klaire Kirsch (seven). She also managed nine rebounds and five dimes.
Besides Bildner, LWU got 15 points and seven rebounds from Lexie Moe and 10 points and seven boards from Medlen. UNK heads to Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State next week.
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Kearney, Neb. – Senior forward Chandler Diekvoss had a big second half and Lindenwood got off to a scorching start to hold off Nebraska-Kearney, 73-65, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lions (13-14, 6-9) sweep the Hays/Kearney road swing and improve to 4-10 in games decided by 10 points or less. Meanwhile, the Lopers (9-15, 4-12) see a two-game winning streak snapped and take part in its 18th game decided by 10 points or less.
Headed to the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) next season, Lindenwood made its final trip to Kearney a memorable as they could do nothing run in the first 15 minutes. An aggressive 1-3-1 zone was giving the UNK offense fits while the Lions promptly sunk 16 of 22 shots (72.7 pct.) on the other end of the court. That included a 5 of 5 effort from behind the arc to make it 38-14 by the 4:51 mark.
“They did the same thing Thursday night at Fort Hays. We told our guys they start fast and are a lot better than their record indicates,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. “We didn’t do what we needed to do on defense and then we struggled trying to find looks against their zone. When we did, we couldn’t connect on them”
The Lopers closed the half on a 14-2 run to trail 40-28 at the intermission. The deficit remained between 12-16 points for the first part of the second half before back-to-back threes from junior lefty Diego Womack made it 63-43 with 8:47 to play. He entered today 4 of 20 (20.0 pct.) from downtown.
“I talked to their head coach (Lance Randall) in the shoot around and he said we have a team that’s real streaky. At Hays they were 3 of 20 from the three point line … but he said at times they can get it going. They had that kind of game today where they were all on,” said Lofton.
UNK had one last run to make, outscoring the Lions 21-6 over the next eight minutes to make things interesting. After senior guard Brad Newman missed the front end of a one-and-one, the Lopers had a chance to make it a one possession game with less than a minute to go. However, back-to-back threes from the top of the key didn’t drop. The second one was grabbed by the Lions and led to a fast break dunk by Womack to make it 71-64 with 15 seconds left.
Kearney finished the day just 5 of 27 (18.5 pct.) from the three point line. After 10 of 18 from three point land in in the first half of a loss at Missouri Southern last Thursday, the Lopers are 17 of 86 (19.7 pct.) from downtown over the last 100 minutes of game action.
“It looked like they were going to run us out of here by 30 at one point. With a minute or so left we have two threes that would’ve made it a two-point game. Our kids have shown determination all year long and have fought back in games to give themselves chances,” said Lofton.
Diekvoss, averaging 15.5 points per game, went for 19 in the second half today. He finished 10 of 11 from the field and 5 of 7 at the line to score a game-high 25 while also having six boards, four assists and two steals. Newman (13) and Womack (12) were the others Lions in double figures with reserve guard TJ Crockett hitting two threes to tally eight.
Lindenwood cooled off to 52.7 percent (29 of 55) field goal shooting that included a solid 7 of 13 effort from the three point line. LWU also was plus one on the glass and had just 10 turnovers.
Freshman Kanon Koster (Kearney) paced the Lopers for a second straight game as he had 18 of his team-high 24 points in the second half. He made 7 of 12 shots (2 of 7 threes) and 8 of 10 free throws over 37 minutes. Koster (407) now joins Brian Nielsen (499/1990-91) and Tom Kropp (408/1971-72) as the only freshman in UNK history to score 400 points.
Finally, Iowa senior Kyle Juhl (10 assists & nine points) and Bellevue junior AJ Jackson (10 rebounds & nine points) got close to double doubles with Lincoln sophomore Sam Morris having a season-best 12 points on 6 of 10 shooting.
UNK heads to Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State next week.