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The Antelope

Season ends with the Lopers in the semifinals



The Lopers headed down to Kansas City as the three seed for this weekend’s MIAA tournament. Their first game in the 10-team tournament came against Missouri Western ending with a score of 68-62 in favor of UNK, but the Saturday afternoon game was the end of the tournament for the Lopers losing to Emporia State 61-52.

“If you don’t win the first one the second game doesn’t matter.” Said head coach Carrie Eighmey “You’ve got to have the mentality of being all-in on the first game. Find a way to win that one and then move on to the next and do it again.”

The Lopers didn’t see action until Friday’s quarterfinal.

They played Missouri Western State in that quarterfinal matchup. UNK played the Griffons in the middle of their season-high 11 game win streak earlier this year, winning 60-57.

The first quarter was a back and forth affair.

The teams traded the lead four times before the end of the first quarter. Freshman guard Trinity Law (Brandon, South Dakota) hit a layup as the first quarter ended to give the Lopers a 21-20 lead.

The second quarter was a different story. UNK outscored MWST 18-7, in large part because of the play from Elisa Backes (Salina, Kansas). She scored ten points in the quarter and had 21 in the game.

Heading into halftime the Lopers had a 39-27 lead.

Backes momentum continued coming out of the locker room, scoring nine points in the third with five of them coming from the charity strike. 

That offensive effort and good team defense helped UNK hold onto a 55-46 lead going into the final quarter of play.

Despite the best efforts of the Griffons, the Lopers held onto the lead in the fourth, winning 68-62. Propelling them to a semifinal matchup the next day against Emporia State.

“The coaches tried to get us to understand this was a brand-new season,” said junior guard Kelsey Sanger. “Everyone is fighting for one more game and we knew we were going to get everyone’s best effort.”

The Lopers had played the Hornets twice this year before Saturday’s game. Splitting the series with them 1-1 in the regular season.

The game started as many top tier MIAA games do, with good defense on both sides.

The first quarter ended in a 13-13 stalemate with neither team scoring a bucket for the last 2:08.

In the second the story changed. ESU’s offense was buzzing and pushed their advantage to ten going into the locker rooms up 33-23.

Both teams played lockdown defense only allowing 9 points for both offenses in the third quarter.

Going into the fourth the Hornets led UNK 42-32.

The Lopers tried to battle  

back but the Hornets kept them at a distance only letting the lead close to six points.

UNK’s seasons ended when the NCAA announced the Division II women’s basketball bracket. UNK ends the season with a record of 26-6, going 14-5 in conference play. 

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