Lopers split with Newman at home

Lopers split with Newman at home
February 10th, 2024 | Peter Yazvac

Kearney, Neb. – Graduate forward Shiloh McCool posted her seventh straight double doubles and Nebraska Kearney also got three career-high performances to survive Newman, 81-76, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.

The Lopers (17-6, 11-6) sweep the season series from the Jets (2-21, 1-16) and remain in a logjam in the MIAA standings. Missouri Southern and Missouri Western (14-3) are tied for first with UNK one of five teams between 10-12 league victories.

Newman came in shooting just 25% from behind the arc but those numbers went on the window as they made 7 of 18 bombs in the first half and then warmed up to a 9 of 15 effort after the break. Seven different players made at least one with 6-3 freshman reserve Delainey Wylie (4 of 4) and senior guard Amiya Josey (4 of 9) leading the way.

“You have to start taking people out of what they want to do and understand the mode that people are in. Newman is fighting to make the league tourney, so they were going to have to come in and play fast and free,” said UNK head coach Drew Johnson. “They obviously made a bunch of shots today. When you’re trading two’s for three’s, they were able to stay in it a long time.”

Having four score in double digits and winning the rebounding battle by 22, UNK never trailed and lead by as many as 14 points. That advantage came with 4:41 left, 72-58, and after a three from redshirt junior wing Meg Burns (Ankeny, Ia.).

However, NU promptly hit six treys to rally and force the Lopers to win it from the line. Thankfully, junior guard Jillian Aschoff (Lincoln Pius) and freshman reserve Brinly Christensen (Lincoln SW) went 4 of 4 at the line in the final 13 seconds to keep NU grounded. They missed a three, their only one in the final 4:41, with 24 ticks left that would’ve made it a one-point game.

“I didn’t think we adjusted very well to what they were trying to do and how they were doing it. I also thought our attention to detail on the scout wasn’t very good,” said Johnson. “We’re going to have to be better than that. It’s nice to learn those kinds of lessons when you win.”

McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) had another workman like performance, having 12 rebounds (10 defensive), 11 points and four assists. She’s now up to 31 career doubles with 13 coming this year. Next, Christensen (16), redshirt freshman post Bailee Sobczak (23) and sophomore reserve Macy Bryant (11) each had a career-best point total. Christensen went 6 of 7 at the line and had four buckets, Sobczak was 7 of 15 from the field and 9 of 11 at the line with Bryant having six boards (four offensive) to go along with 4 for 4/3 for 4 shooting.

“We’ve had some young players like Bailee, Brinly and Macy step up this season,” said Johnson. “At the five spot this afternoon, you had 34 points and a bunch of rebounds.”

Finally for the Lopers, Aschoff got close to another triple double (eight assists, seven points, seven boards). Josey had 15 of her team-best 18 points in the first half with fellow starters Amaya Perez (10) and Jaeden McMillin (12) also in double figures. Finally, Wylie (12) was productive in 15 minutes.

UNK heads to MIAA preseason favorite Central Missouri (16-6, 10-6) on Thursday night.

Kearney, Neb. – The Newman University Jets sunk 14 three pointers and had five score in double figures to win a shootout with Nebraska Kearney, 90-85, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center.

From Wichita, NU (7-15, 4-15) sweeps the season series from the Lopers for a second straight year.

The teams combined for 175 points thanks to a 65 of 129 effort (.503 pct.) from the field that included 24 of 59 shooting (.407 pct.) from behind the arc. The Jets were plus five on the glass with UNK making five more free throws and having three fewer turnovers.

“You can’t give up 90 every night. You’ve got to find a way to get some stops and find a way to win your matchup every night,” UNK interim head coach Antoine Young. “Against UCO on Thursday, I thought we took a step forward with our defensive intensity. Tonight, it seemed both teams were saying ‘you take a shot, okay I’ll take a shot’ because no one was guarding anybody.”

Newman led for nearly 34 minutes and by as many as nine points thanks to 10 first half threes and the play of veteran guard Stevie Strong in the second half. He had 17 points (6 of 7 field goals) and three assists after the break. His three-point play with 24 seconds left pushed the Jets lead to 88-83.

NU’s 14 threes on 31 attempts came from five different players, often in the corner against the Loper zone. Guard Jacob Joe (5 of 9) and Strong (3 of 3) had the hottest hands.

“You can’t give up threes to guys who shoot threes. When that happens, they usually hit them,” said Young. “You have to find a way to stay in front of Strong. I know he’s tough and can get downhill but other teams in our league that are no more athletic than we are seem to keep him in front.”   

Junior lefty guard Taden King (Rexburg, Idaho) tallied a game-high 32 points to keep UNK in it. He finished 11 of 16 (6 of 9 threes) from the field and 4 of 4 at the line. Sitting the last seven minutes of the first half due to foul trouble, King also provided five boards and four assists. Finally, he had 16 points in the game’s first four minutes.

“He’s a good shooter and he’s constantly in the gym. He’s been struggling so it was good to see him finally get it going since he’s works so hard,” said Young.

Down 51-44 at the break, the Lopers started the half on a 22-11 run to retake the lead. Threes from King, super senior Winston Cook (Wahoo) and junior guard Miguel Robles (East L.A.) made it 66-62 at the 12:08 mark. However, NU scored the next five points and never trailed again.

Strong ended up with a team-high 25 points, seven assists, two steals and two boards with Joe (15) and reserve Latik Murphy (14) combing for 29 points. Next, reserve post Thomas Zevgaras almost had a double double (11 points, eight rebounds) while starting wing Sam Somerhalder did (11 points, 11 rebounds).

Besides King’s heroics, freshman guard D’Aundre Samuels (Denver) made 7 of 8 shots and had an all-around stat line; 16 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. Finally, Robles had 10 off the bench with junior forward Sean Murphy (New Zealand) at 11 points and five rebounds.

UNK heads to Central Missouri and Lincoln next weekend.


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