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The Antelope

Lopers entering conference play with momentum after wins

Jillian Aschoff heads down the court on Saturday’s game against the College of St Mary. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff

The Loper women’s basketball team won both games in its Thanksgiving homestand. UNK defeated Graceland University 77-48 on Wednesday and the College of St. Mary 78-33 on Saturday.

The Lopers opened the first quarter against Graceland with a 26-3 lead which was finished with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Meg Burns.

“I thought defensively we were just overwhelming,” said UNK coach Carrie Eighmey. “We got a lot of deflections, created a lot of turnovers. They kind of settled in a little bit and maybe got a little more confident. From there on out they competed pretty well.”

The Lopers only outscored Graceland 51-45 the rest of the game, but outscored them 20-15 in the fourth quarter with many backups in the game.

Elisa Backes led UNK with 16 points. Shiloh McCool and Halle Duft each scored nine and Klaire Kirsch led the team in rebounds with six. 

UNK outscored the College of St. Mary 24-2 in the second quarter on Saturday to lead at the half 43-11. 

The Flames went into the game trying to take away the inside game for the Lopers. With such intense defense in the paint, it allowed for some of the guards to make plays on the outside.

“First play we ran, they doubled the post right away,” Eighmey said. “So we knew they were going to try to eliminate our touches in the paint and our advantage with size in the paint.”

Sarah Schmitt led the team with 23 points going 9-10 from the field. She also led the Lopers in rebounds with seven and in assists with three.

“She’s grown in her own confidence and ability to shoot the ball,” Eighmey said. “Obviously it paid off for her today. She’s a player that’s in the gym all the time and works on her shot.”

Lexi Moes also had a career-high in points with 17 coming off the bench.

“She’s been super productive in the minutes that she has been on the floor,’ Eighmey said. “You just see that growth and you see a player that becomes more and more comfortable in what we’re doing.”

The Lopers will now enter MIAA play with a 7-1 record as they take on Rogers State at home on Thursday and Northeastern State on Saturday.

“We’ve talked a lot about our standards that we have to play towards to be successful in the MIAA,” Eighmey said. “We need to be able to do that all the time because there are no easy games or days off in the MIAA. We want to make sure that we are sharp on both ends of the floor for 40 minutes mentally and physically.”

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GRANT TIGHE, Sports Editor
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