Kearney Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney women’s basketball team closed the night on a 36-7 run to beat York College, 82-53, Saturday at the Health & Sports Center. Returning from the Holiday Break, the Lopers improve to 7-4 and are now 7-1 at home. The Panthers remain at 5-11 as this was an exhibition game per NAIA rules. York hung around for two and half quarters thanks to seven three pointers, several of the banked variety, and 16 rebounds from reserve Maria Lopez. A three off the glass by starter Amaia Diaz made it 46-40 with 4:33 in the third quarter. That capped a 15-7 Panther run but it was all Kearney from there.
UNK scored 14 of the next 15 points to push its lead back into double digits. This stretch included a three-point play from reserve Elisa Backes (Salina, Kan.), a triple from starting guard Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, S.D.) and four York turnovers. The Lopers continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter as they made four three pointers and six free throws. Meanwhile, York went 4 of 18 (1 of 7 threes) over the final 10 minutes. All 13 UNK players got into the scoring column with Backes and sophomore starter Kelsey Sanger (Crofton) tying for the lead at 14 apiece. Sanger also had five steals and four assists with Backes making 5 of 6 shots (3 of 3 threes) while grabbing seven boards.
Next, freshman reserve post Brooke Carlson (Elkhorn) had nine points and four assists, Kirsch had 11 points and five rebounds and freshman starting forward Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) got close to a double with nine rebounds and seven points.
York also had a balanced attack and was paced by starting guard Melody Thomsen with 12 points and four assists. UNK heads to Southwest Baptist (Thurs.) and defending national champion Central Missouri (Sat.) this weekend.
Kearney Neb. – Junior forward Kyle Juhl scored a career-high 20 points and sophomores Austin Luger and Weston Baker Magrath had big nights as well to help Nebraska-Kearney get past Nebraska Christian, 86-68, Saturday at the Health & Sports Center.
This was the first-ever meeting between the Lopers (5-6) and Sentinels (5-8) from Papillion. This was an exhibition game for NCC per National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) rules
Juhl (Harlan, Ia.) scored 18 of his points in the first half as he sunk four triples. He finished the night 6 of 14 (4 of 9 threes) from the field and also had seven rebounds and five assists. Juhl’s previous career-high point of 19 came earlier this year vs. Colo.-Colo. Springs and last year at Emporia State.
Next, Baker Magrath (Marshall, Minn.) got close to his first career double double as he had 14 points and eight rebounds. Ten of his points came in the opening half. Finally, Luger (Alliance) scored all 12 of his points in the first 20 minutes. His career-high of 14 points came earlier this month vs. Mt. Marty.
UNK had a 36-16 advantage in points in the paint and also went a season-best 24 of 31 (77.4 pct.) at the line. However, NCC’s first six made field goals were all threes and they finished 13 of 30 from behind the arc. The Sentinels, out rebounded by a 38-37 margin, were just 8 of 24 from two-point land.
The Lopers closed the half on a 10-2 run to lead by 14 at the break. NCC kept the deficit under 15 until a three from junior Chase Winchester (DeSoto, Texas) made it 67-50 with 6:21 to play. The Sentinels didn’t get closer than 13 point the rest of the way.
Six different NCC players sunk a three including guard DJ Hanes. He came in averaging 28 points per game but was held to 17 as he went 3 of 17 from the field. He did go 9 of 10 at the line and added four assist and three steals in playing all 40 minutes. Finally for the Sentinels, reserve Drue Aguilera had 14 points with Gibbon native TJ Rivera had 11 points and three assists.
Kearney will leave Wednesday morning for MIAA games at Southwest Baptist (Thurs.) and Central Missouri (Sat.) this weekend.