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UNK WBB: Lopers Get Big Efforts to Down WU in OT, 75-74

Photo Credit: UNK Athletics Photo Credit: UNK Athletics

Kearney, Neb. – Redshirt junior wing Meg Burns scored a career-high 20 points, graduate forward Shiloh McCool posted another double double and point guard Jillian Aschoff got close to a triple double as Nebraska Kearney out lasted Washburn, 75-74 in overtime, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.

This was the only meeting this winter between the Lopers (14-5, 8-5) and Ichabods (11-8, 6-7). UNK now has won six straight in the series.

“Just continually proud of our team for fighting. We’ve had some adversity of late with some injuries but stayed with the game plan, stayed with the scouting report,” said UNK head coach Drew Johnson. “They have a couple of nice players. We knew we needed out best effort and I felt like we gave it for most of the game.”

In a game where it led for just 15:29, UNK was poised to win it in regulation after Burns (Ankeny, Ia.) sunk a right wing three with 23 seconds left to make it 68-66. On the play, she took a pass, faked out her defender and sunk the shot. However, sophomore guard Amaya Davison made a driving layup nine seconds later to tie the score once again.

Not surprisingly, UNK turned to Aschoff (Lincoln Pius) on its next possession, and she easily got past her defender and converted her patented scoop shot. But there were still about four seconds left and WU called timeout to move the ball up the court. Head coach Loura Westling drew up a play where guard Aubree Dewey (game-high 21 points) collected the in-bounds pass, drove baseline, and then dropped the ball off to a driving Aniah Wayne for a buzzer beating layup.

In extra time, points were at a premium with Burns tying it at 72 with 1:55 left and then the Lopers recorded a stop. Redshirt freshman post Bailee Sobczak (Rapid City, S.D.) went 1 of 2 at the line with 1:13 remaining to give UNK the lead for good. Burns basically sealed it after sinking a shot clock beating floater in the lane with 18 seconds remaining. WU decided to go for a layup instead of a tying three but then failed to foul until there was less than a second left. Aschoff missed the first free throw, intentionally missed the second and got the ensuing board.

“You can tell Meg wanted the ball at the end,” said Johnson. “We were starting to use her in some other ways to get some other people open because teams have been face guarding so hard,” said Johnson. “She’s a willing screener at the end of games but when her defender finally helps, she’ll make the shot.”

Having its worst shooting day of the year (34.1%), UNK overcame that by being 15 on the glass as Sobczak (17), McCool (13) and Aschoff (nine) provided the damage. Sobczak’s rebound total was two shy of tying the school mark, set by McCool in last year’s home win over Fort Hays State.

“Those gimmies (missed paint shots today) are going to go in at some point. We found ways to win this week even when we didn’t shoot the ball very well,” said Johnson. “There are a million kids in America today that would’ve quit about halftime after going 0 of 7 from the field. Bailee just kept fighting, gave us defensive minutes, and kept plays alive with the o-boards. We needed all of that to win.”

Burns finished 8 of 17 (2 of 7) from the field in 39 minutes with McCool having 15 points on six buckets and three freebies. Thirteen of her points came after the break. Next, Sobczak had 12 of UNK’s 24 o-boards with Aschoff having 11 assists, nine points and nine rebounds. Eight of those paints came over the final 25 minutes. Finally, Lincoln freshman Brinly Christensen was again big off the bench; seven points and four rebounds in 31 minutes.

Dewey reached her total by going 8 of 21 (3 of 8 threes) from the field while also having eight assists, five boards and three steals. Before fouling out in overtime, post Yiibari Nwidadh recorded a double double (19 points, 12 rebounds).

“It doesn’t get any easier in this league. We have to stay with the process, keep getting better, keep working,” said Johnson.

UNK heads to Northwest Missouri (15-4, 9-4) and Missouri Western (15-4, 10-3) next weekend.