Kearney, Neb. – Graduate transfer Haley Simental scored a team-high 21 points and Nebraska-Kearney got hot late to hold off Cameron, 79-73, Friday night in Hays, Kan.
The game was part of the Fort Hays State Crossover Tournament. In the late contest the No. 7 Tigers whipped Adams State, 79-39. UNK (3-0) faces ASU (0-3) Saturday at 3 p.m.
UNK led for nearly 34 minutes tonight but the Aggies (1-2), from Lawton, Okla., and the Lone Star Conference, hung around thanks to redshirt senior guard Amaka Nwakamma (25 points, eight rebounds & 10 fouls drawn) and sophomore guard Maighan Hedge (15 points, six rebounds & six fouls drawn).
The Lopers also didn’t help themselves by having another tough night at the line (19 of 33/58%) and by missing its first 10 threes. However Kearney closed the game on a 20-15 run that featured three treys by Simental (Pueblo, Colo.) and a three-point play from sophomore post Brooke Carlson (Elkhorn).
Carlson’s fast break layup and subsequent freebie capped an 8-0 run and made it 67-58 with 5:17 to play. After a CU bucket Simental hit her second three of the quarter and the Lopers suddenly had its biggest lead of the game.
Having 26 points in the season-opener vs. Minnesota Crookston, Simental reached her tally tonight by going 7 of 18 (4 of 10 threes) from the field. Scoring 17 after halftime, she also had six assists, five rebounds and drew nine fouls. Next Carlson had 13 points and grabbed six rebounds with Iowa sophomore Maegan Holt logging all 40 minutes and finishing with 14 points, six boards and two dimes.
Off the bench Kansas sophomore forward Elisa Backes had eight points, two boards and a block with South Dakota freshman guard Trinity Law at seven points and four rebounds in 10 minutes.
Nwakamma led the Aggies by making eight field goals and eight free throws. The Nigerian redshirted last season after averaging nine points as a junior transfer.