UNK WBB: Lopers Sneak Past Emporia State 68-64

Kearney, Neb. – Forward Shiloh McCool and point guard Jillian Aschoff posted double doubles and wing Samantha Moore hit a late three to help Nebraska Kearney get past Emporia State, 68-64, Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center.

This was the only meeting between the Lopers (13-5, 7-5) and Hornets (9-9, 6-6) this winter. UNK stops a three-game losing streak and beats E-State for a fourth consecutive time.

UNK led 15-11 after the first quarter and then started the second on an 8-3 run to have its biggest lead of the night. However, Emporia led by one at the break and then held two seven-point leads in the third quarter. During this time both teams were struggling at the line, combing for a 12 of 24 effort.

The Lopers got jumpers from Moore (Mullen) and Aschoff (Lincoln Pius), as well as four straight free throws, to trail by just a 53-52 score entering the fourth. It was back-and-forth from there with a three by sophomore guard Gracie Gilpin giving the Hornets a 59-57 lead with 5:26 left.

Neither team would score for nearly four minutes as E-State missed four shots and four free throws while also having a turnover. UNK missed five shots during this stretch with two turnovers but Moore's left-wing triple with 1:36 remaining finally broke the ice. The Blue & Gold wouldn't relinquish the lead as they sunk eight straight freebies. Meanwhile, Emporia missed another four shots before a late Gilpin three.

"That three from Sam was deep and late in the shot clock … had to have it," said UNK head coach Drew Johnson. "I think there's another mode of aggressiveness for her. When she's aggressive, she's really hard to defend."

UNK had its third worst shooting night of the year (37.1%) but was plus 15 on the glass, made its last 12 freebies and had only seven turnovers. Meanwhile, ESU was 9 of 31 (30%) from behind the arc and 5 of 13 at the line (39%).

"One of the things we talked about before the game was the fact Emporia is 5-1 in league play when they win the rebounding battle and 1-4 when they don't," said Johnson. "When you take 31 threes, you're going to get some rebounds, but we wanted to make sure we didn't give up a bunch of offensive rebounds."

McCool (14 rebounds, 12 points) now has 26 career double doubles with Aschoff (17 points, 10 rebounds) posting her fourth of the year. She also had a team-best four assists and was 8 of 14 from the field. Next, Moore (nine rebounds, eight points) got close to her first career double double with Lincoln freshman reserve forward Brinly Christensen at nine points and Missouri senior reserve forward Lexi Moes at five points and two boards. Finally, Iowa junior wing Meg Burns had nine points, five caroms and two assists.

"Shiloh flips some switch in the fourth quarter and goes and gets every rebound. She had a couple of big-time defensive rebounds tonight where she basically refused to let someone else get it," said McCool. "Jill has been an active rebounder all year long and pursues the ball well. She also hit a big three early in the fourth when we needed some momentum."

For the Hornets, Oral Roberts transfer and 6-0 senior forward Faith Paramore got close to a triple double (14 points, eight assists, eight rebounds) with Gilpin and senior transfer guard Katie Horyna at 16 points apiece.

UNK hosts Washburn on Saturday afternoon. The Ichabods (11-7, 6-6) fell at Fort Hays State tonight, 70-45.