University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers logo.

UNK Limits MIAA’s Top Offense; Backes, Carlson & Simental Lead the Way

University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers logo.

Kearney, Neb. – Point guard Haley Simental and forward Elisa Backes tallied 16 points apiece and post Brooke Carlson recorded a double double to help No. 16/15 Nebraska-Kearney down No. 22/RV Missouri Western State, 60-48, Thursday night in St. Joseph, Mo.

The Lopers (13-2, 8-1) beat the Griffons (12-2, 6-2) for a fifth straight time and also hands Mo West its second home loss of the year.

UNK shut down the MIAA's top offense as the Griffs came in averaging 80.2 points per game. They had its second lowest output of the winter as they finished 17 of 53 (32%) from the field which included a 1 of 11 effort from behind the arc. UNK also was plus four on the glass; MWSU came in with a plus nine rebounding margin.  

Leading for nearly 27 minutes, the Lopers were up 29-27 early in the second half when it went on a 5-0 mini-run. A Carlson (Elkhorn) steal led to a layup from reserve point guard Sarah Schmitt (Swisher, Ia.) to cap things. While the Griffs got it down to a two-point deficit a few minutes later, the Loper advantage was eight, 44-36, by the end of the third. A Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) offensive rebound led to a layup by reserve guard Meg Burns (Ankeny, Ia.) to end the quarter.

UNK held at least a four-point cushion in the fourth with its first double digit lead coming on a Simental (Pueblo West, Colo.) three at the 3:35 mark. That made it 56-44 with the Lopers ending the game 22 of 52 (42%) from the field which included six triples.

Simental reached her season-high point total by making six field goals and three free throws. Drawing eight fouls, she also had four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Backes (Salina, Kan.), part of a bench mob that outscored the Griff reserves by a 27-7 margin, reached her 16 points thanks to a 4 of 8 effort from behind the arc. She had eight points in each half and swatted two shots. Carlson also had two blocks and also supplied 12 points and 11 boards (10 defensive). This marks her first double double of 2021-22.

MWSU was paced by forward Connie Clark who came in almost averaging a double double on the year. She had a game-high 23 points, nine rebounds and two steals. She went 8 of 18 from the field; the rest of the Griffs were a combined 9 of 35.

The Lopers heads to Northwest Missouri on Saturday. The Bearcats (11-3, 6-2) fell in the last minute to No. 2 Fort Hays State on Wednesday night, 63-60.

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