Loper Women Dominate #8/23 Colorado Mines, 76-57
Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney women's basketball team sunk nine three pointers, committed just nine turnovers, was plus six on the glass and had four score in double figures to roll past No. 8/23 Colorado School of Mines, 76-57, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lopers improve to 3-1 while the Orediggers fall to 3-1. Mines was ranked 23rd in the WBCA Preseason D2 Top 25 poll while being eighth in the latest D2 Sports Information Directors national rankings.
The 'Diggers, who went 17-3 last winter, came in with a plus 10 rebounding margin and forcing 25 turnovers a night. Their trapping defense also was limiting opponents to 33% shooting from the field. UNK aced each of those tests as they hit four early threes, were strong on the glass (10 offensive and 33 defensive caroms) and had just three first half turnovers.
"It was a really great team effort on both ends of the floor. Obviously, that's the best we've played this year," said Loper head coach Carrie Eighmey. "Defensively, we played with a ton of effort and attention to detail. We were really good on knowing the scout and being able to rebound in this game was huge."
Leading nearly the entire way, UNK zoomed ahead 21-11 after a three by South Dakota junior wing Klaire Kirsch. While Mines scored the next eight, the Loper lead was back into double figures midway through the second quarter. Up 42-33 at the break, UNK busted things open with a 10-0 run in the third. A Kirsch layup capped the spurt and forced the 'Diggers to call timeout down 54-37. They didn't get closer than 12 the rest of the day.
"On both ends of the floor we did a good job of executing our game plan. They loved to speed teams up … in the first half they were trapping every ball screen and every handoff. We handled that pressure well and in the second half they had to back off," said Eighmey.
Kirsch recorded her second double double (14 points & 10 rebounds) of the young season while gong 3 of 5 from behind the arc. Fellow South Dakotan Trinity Law sunk 4 of 8 triples to score a career-high 18. She's now been in double digits three times this year. Next, Iowa reserve forward Shiloh McCool had 16 points for a second straight game. She was a perfect 7 of 7 from the field while also having six boards and three dimes.
"(Early 3's) They were great shots. They were in rhythm, they were catch-and-shoot, they were wide open. We did a good job of moving the ball and finding the open shot," said Eighmey.
Finally for the Lopers, Kansas forward Elisa Backes had 15 points, eight rebounds, six fouls drawn, two blocks and two assists. Getting out shot 48-32%, the 'Diggers were led by starters Denali Pinto (15 points) and Ashley Steffeck (10 points).
The Lopers host NAIA College of St. Mary Wednesday at 2 p.m. The Flames (7-1) are at Hastings the night before.