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The Antelope

The Antelope

UNK women finish non-conference season with win

KOSUKE YOSHII / ANTELOPE STAFF Shiloh McCool drives to the basket against Colorado Mines in a previous game.

After getting off to a solid start, the UNK women’s basketball team looked to end its non-conference schedule with a win over Chadron State. The Lopers were able to get the win 71-44 at the Health and Sports Center on Saturday. 

UNK was leading 32-13 at halftime, but Chadron State switched up to a 3-2 zone defense in the second half to try to take away the Lopers’ interior players.

“We weren’t surprised by it, we knew it was coming,” said coach Carrie Eighmey. “They just really were sitting in on the posts and just daring us to shoot threes. You don’t necessarily want to take shots that are open all the time, you want to take shots you want to take. You want to get the ball where you want it to go.”

The zone worked initially as Chadron State outscored UNK 22-18 in the third quarter, but the Lopers figured it out in the fourth outscoring Chadron 21-9. 

“In that third quarter, I thought we gave up some offensive rebounds and fouled and put them at the free-throw line,” Eighmey said. “I thought the fourth quarter we were much better.”

With the offense struggling a bit, UNK stepped it up on the defensive side of the ball allowing single digits in three out of the four quarters.

“That’s kind of what we’ve built our program on,” Eighmey said. “We’re gonna defend, rebound and make sure we give ourselves a chance in every game whether or not offense is clicking on all cylinders.” 

Shiloh McCool led the Lopers with 14 points and Brooke Carlson had 11 with Maegan Holt adding 10. They all contributed to UNK outscoring Chadron State 34-12 in the paint. 

“I definitely feel like that’s where our advantage was in the paint,” Eighmey said. “We knew that kind of going in. Especially when they were in man. Every time we went there we were able to capitalize and Shi and Brooke got some really good touches.”

UNK has been battling injuries as guard Sarah Schmitt was out with a concussion and guard Klaire Kirsch was out with a hamstring injury that she suffered in the game against College of St. Mary. 

These games around Thanksgiving can be important for the Lopers early in the season.

“They’re good opportunities to give some players more experience,” Eighmey said. “Anytime you’re going into the MIAA conference play you want to have as many players on your bench who have played in some games and have some game experience.”

Some of those players included guards Samantha Moore and Alayna Benike as well as forward Grace O’Neill. All three are freshmen who have come in and been able to get some playing time early on this season. 

“We’ve been able to get young players some experience and work on some things defensively and obviously offensively too,” Eighmey said. “As I told our team next week here, getting into MIAA play the intensity is going to ramp up another notch for sure.”

UNK will be on the road to start MIAA play this weekend after finishing their non-conference schedule 5-1. The team will take on Emporia State on Thursday and Washburn on Saturday.

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