UNK WBB: Lopers Fall By Three at Northeastern State

University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers logo.

Fifth-year senior guard Halie Jones made five threes to score 25 points and Northeastern State used two big runs to hold off Nebraska Kearney, 74-71, Saturday afternoon in Tahlequah.

In the only meeting between the two this year, the RiverHawks (4-3, 1-1) snap an 18-game losing streak to the Lopers (7-1, 1-1). NSU took the first two MIAA matchups back in 2013 and 2014.

UNK scored the game's first seven points but the 'Hawks countered with a 12-0 spurt and never trailed again. Ahead 50-43 late in the third, they went on a 9-0 run to grab their biggest lead of the game. A three from guard Trinity Law (Brandon, S.D.) got the Lopers within one, 68-67, with a minute left but Jones countered with a layup 20 seconds later.

The Blue & Gold had another chance after forward Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) went 1 for 2 at the line to make it 70-68 with 35 seconds remaining. UNK almost got an over-and-back turnover but a foul was called instead. NSU made both freebies at the 27 second mark and UNK didn't score again until there was only 1.8 seconds left. On Thursday night at Rogers State, the Blue & Gold did come back from a 16-point hole.

Jones came in as her team's leading scorer (13.3) and was shooting 38% from the three-point line. She made 4 of 5 treys in the first half and then sunk another after the break. Overall, Jones was 9 of 13 from the field and added five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Next, fifth-year senior guard Tor'e Alford scored 16 thanks to 6 of 6 freebie shooting with three others between eight and nine points. That trio included senior forward Tess Talo Tomokino (nine points, seven boards). Team wise, the 'Hawks shot 51% from the field and were a solid 20 of 29 at the line. 

Struggling to get the ball inside against an NSU defense that clogged the lane, UNK shot 39% from the field. They were 7 of 14 from behind the arc in the second half to get back into it and made 13 of 36 two-point buckets overall. The 'Hawks also took advantage of 16 turnovers to tally 19 points. Many of those UNK miscues came in the first and third quarters.

Having 14 o-boards that led to 15 second chance points, the Lopers had four starters reach double figures. Forward Meg Burns (Ankeny, Ia.) had 18 on 6 of 9 (3 of 4 threes) shooting with McCool hitting seven free throws to tally 15. Next, Law (11) and point guard Jillian Aschoff (15) each hit three treys with Aschoff also having seven dimes and seven caroms.

UNK hosts Missouri Western (4-2, 0-1) on Thursday night. The Griffons, nationally-ranked this season, battled rival Missouri Southern on Saturday evening.