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Senior leaves lasting impact on young Lopers

Shiloh+McCool+lofts+a+shot+over+a+Newman+defender.+Photo+by+Shelby+Berglund+%2F+Antelope+Staff
Shiloh McCool lofts a shot over a Newman defender. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

willisj@lopers.unk.edu

Shiloh McCool enters her final home weekend as a Loper. She has put together a memorable career in her five years as a Loper. 

The redshirt fifth year forward has moved into second all time in school history in double-doubles. Not only that, but recently had a streak of seven straight games with a double-double. This past Thursday, she also scored a career high in points with 29 against Central Missouri, and moved into 12th on the UNK career scoring list with 1,421 points. She also holds the school record for rebounds in a game, locking down 19 last year against Fort Hays. 

While she doesn’t think about the records a lot, she knows how important some of them are. 

“UNK is always going to hold a special place in my heart, so I’m kind of glad that I get to hold my own place here,” McCool said. “I don’t think about it too much, but my teammates always really hype it up.” 

After starting 23 games as a freshman, McCool dealt with an injury that would change the trajectory of her career. She missed her entire sophomore year, and would slowly work her way back, only starting 12 games her redshirt junior season. 

She continued to move forward and has been a consistent starter since her redshirt senior season. Last season, she was second-team All-MIAA, and is on a path to be on an All-MIAA list again this year. 

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs but overall it’s been awesome and a big part of that is just the teammates I have and the community here in Kearney,” McCool said. “My teammates have been awesome and are now some of my best friends and the Kearney community has given us a lot of support throughout the years.” 

This year has been different for McCool though. As a redshirt senior with a lot of fellow upperclassmen, she was part of a big system. This year though, with many upperclassmen leaving leading to younger players stepping up along with a new coaching staff, she has been the go to player this season. 

“When you take over a program there’s going to be things that you need to make sure stay the same, and one of the things that we asked very early from Shiloh was to bring the energy and effort that she brings every night,” coach Drew Johnson said. “She’s done an unbelievable job of being one of those leaders that’s going to show you what hard work looks like.” 

McCool is averaging 14 points and nine rebounds per game this year. She has led the Lopers in scoring the last two seasons.

Not only has she continued her dominance on the court, she has also stepped up in a huge leadership role this season. 

“Sometimes when you’re the oldest person on the team and you’ve been here a while it can be easy to not get to know the younger players,” Johnson said. “I think her ability to connect with all members of the team has been phenomenal and her ability to connect with each and every person off the floor as well. That’s something special and I don’t think that just happens.” 

The Lopers enter their final home weekend of the regular season, with senior night coming up on Saturday.

While this is one of the final stages of the season and McCool’s career, she hopes that there are plenty more games to be played. 

“My goal is to just do my best these next couple of games and see how far we can take this,” McCool said. “We just need to go out there and play with confidence.” 

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Jon Willis, Reporter
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