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The Antelope

Lopers show versatility in successful homestand

Sarah Schmitt is filling Haley Simental’s role at point guard this season. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff

Coming off its first loss of the season, the UNK women’s basketball team bounced back with a pair of wins over the weekend. The Lopers first beat Minnesota-Crookston 69-49 on Friday and Southwest Minnesota State 67-57 on Saturday. 

The Lopers started off slowly against Southwest Minnesota, giving up 18 unanswered points and going down 20-7 in the first quarter. UNK slowly began to chip away at the deficit until taking the lead back in the second half. 

“They’re tough to guard, they spread you out, shoot the three really well and they attack you,” said UNK coach Carrie Eighmey. “I thought we did a really good job adjusting after two quarters of kind of letting them have about whatever they wanted to really sitting down and guarding drives a lot better.”

Going into the second half down seven, the Lopers began to take control in the third quarter and never looked back. The team scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter and maintained its lead to the end. 

Shiloh McCool led UNK with 17 points on 8-14 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks. 

“We kind of switched what we were doing offensively,” Eighmey said. “We felt like it was giving us a little better spacing, movement and opportunities for post touches. Shiloh and Maegan were being super aggressive in there posting up. We were able to get some inside touches that created some really good opportunities for us on the perimeter too.”

In the first outing of the weekend, the Lopers found their groove early. At the end of the first quarter, UNK held a 16-2 lead and never surrendered it. 

Only shooting 4-18 from the 3-point line, the team found other ways to score.

“They were kind of daring us to shoot threes and had a lot of open looks in the first half,” Eighmey said. “I think sometimes that’s a little tricky because they’re really open and you want to shoot them. On days when those are really going in you’re in business, but on days when they’re not you have to be a little more patient and try to get some different shots.”

Other Lopers stepped up in the win over Minnesota-Crookston, with Sarah Schmitt putting up 18 points and eight rebounds, and Elisa Backes adding an additional 12 points and five rebounds. 

Now four games into the regular season, each time the Lopers have taken the court a different player has stepped up. 

“One thing we’ve always talked about is the versatility,” Eighmey said. “To be able to see a lot of different people contributing and helping us out in different ways offensively I think from last week to this week we’ve even added more people into that fold. It just gives us more options to go with a lot of different lineups and I think that makes us a little harder to guard.”

UNK will be on the road this week, traveling to Chadron State on Thursday and Colorado Mines on Saturday. 

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KEVIN BURD, Sports Edior
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