UNK WBB: Lopers Extinguish the Flames, 99-28

University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers logo.

Kearney, Neb. – Five players scored in double figures and Nebraska Kearney was plus 38 on the glass to defeat the College of Saint Mary, 99-28, Wednesday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.

This was the Lopers (5-0) final NAIA opponent of the 2023-24 season. The Flames, short-handed due to a rash of injuries, could only suit eight players. They remained 1-5 as this was an exhibition game per NAIA rules.

UNK cracked the school all-time Top 10 lists for fewest points allowed, margin of victory (71) and made field goals (41). The Lopers limited CSM to 20% shooting (9 of 45) as the Flames scored less than 10 points in three quarters. Finally, UNK had 29 points off 21 turnovers and 24 second chance points thanks to 20 o-boards.

"We're playing well defensively, and I like the way we're really jumping to the ball, and we're playing team defense," said Loper head coach Drew Johnson. "We're trying to be suffocating on that end and it's something this program has done recently and we want to keep that going."

All 11 Lopers who suited scored with senior wing Lexi Moes (Smithville, Mo.) having a game-high and career-high 21 points in her first collegiate start. She sunk 7 of 11 shots including three corner triples. Next, junior reserve point guard Halle Duft (South Weber, Utah) had career-bests in both points (12) and assists (seven), sophomore reserve Macy Bryant (Fremont) had a career-high eight points and starters Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) and Jillian Aschoff (Lincoln Pius X) got close to double doubles.

"Today we tried to set some goals for the team. We wanted to win the rebounding margin by certain number, we wanted to try to get to 30 assists, and share the ball overall," said Johnson. "I felt like that kept us motivated throughout."

Shooting 57% from the field, UNK jetted out to a 29-5 first quarter lead and never looked back. Duft and grad transfer Kia Wilson (St. George, Kan.) both went 3 for 3 from the floor in the opening period as the Lopers made 13 of 19 shots while limiting the Flames to a 2 of 15 effort.

Aschoff ended up with nine rebounds (eight defensive), eight assists, three points and two assists over 17 minutes with McCool at 13 points, seven boards (four offensive) and three dimes. Finally, redshirt freshman Riley Jensen (Bellevue East) had seven points on 3 for 3 shooting.

UNK finishes up a four-game homestand this Saturday at 2 p.m. when rival Chadron State (2-1) visits. The Eagles dropped an exhibition game at Wyoming on Tuesday, 78-32.