OTTAWA – At first glance it appeared to another sensational yet routine game for Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) – 23 points and eight rebounds in the Kansas Wesleyan women’s 83-75 Kansas Conference victory over Ottawa on Saturday.
This night and this game inside Wilson Field House, though, were different. Wholly different. Historically different.
Hill’s 3-point field goal from the right wing with 8 minutes, 21 seconds left in the second quarter hoisted her atop KWU’s career scoring chart with 1,570 points. She entered the game five points behind KWU Hall of Famer Joedy Zimmerman, who scored 1,568 points during her fabulous career that ended in 1985.
Hill scored four in the first quarter and burst across the threshold early in the second period. With eight regular season games and postseason play still ahead Hill will amass a lofty total that will be exceedingly difficult to surpass.
“Awesome. Awesome for her, I’m so proud of her,” KWU coach Ryan Showman said on his postgame radio show. “I’ve talked at length the last few years about how special of a kid she is and the person she is, not just a player. For her to do that here tonight is just really special and I’m just really, really excited and happy for her.”
Hill, a four-year varsity player, three-year starter and nursing student, was 9 of 16 shooting, including 2 of 4 beyond the 3-point arc and 3 of 4 at the free throw line. She scored 12 in the second quarter, six the final 2:10 as the Coyotes closed on an 8-0 run and trailed 40-38 at halftime.
Leading 63-62 after three quarters KWU opened the final period with a 13-3 surge and led 76-65 with 4:43 remaining. Ottawa got within 80-75 with 1:29 left but the Coyotes scored the game’s final three points.
Amanda wasn’t the only Hill to have a memorable night. Caila, her younger sister and a starting forward, scored a career-high 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting that included her first 3-pointer of the season and also had five rebounds and four assists. She scored 12 the second half, seven in the fourth quarter.
“She makes (3-pointers) in practice, we’ve seen it all year,” Showman said of Caila Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.). “This has probably been her best three or four best games in a row as a Coyote. I think defensively and offensively she’s playing just wonderfully. I’m really proud of Caila.”
Post player Kelcey Hinz (SR/Whitewater, Kan.), who along with Amanda Hill comprise KWU’s lethal one-two punch, had another monstrous game as well finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Hinz has conducted her own assault on the record book this season and is the school’s career leader in rebounds and blocks.
Ottawa stayed within striking distance the second half thanks to reserve forward Kanecia Payne, who scored 21 after the break and finished with a game-high 29 on 11 of 15 shooting along with eight rebounds.
Showman, though, was pleased with the way his team handled the pressure down the stretch.
“We did such a great job in that fourth quarter just buckling down and getting some stops,” he said. “We knew it would be tough, Ottawa’s a really good young team and are only going to get better. I’m glad to be done with them for right now, especially to get a win on their homecourt.”
KWU shot 54 percent (32 of 59) while Ottawa shot 41 percent (28 of 68). Both teams struggled with turnovers – Wesleyan 22 and Ottawa 20.
The Coyotes play three KCAC games next week starting with Southwestern at 6 p.m. Monday in Mabee Arena. They travel to Sterling for a rematch with the No. 10-ranked Warriors at 6 p.m. Thursday – KWU handed Sterling its only loss of the season. 85-82 in overtime December 2 in Mabee Arena. The Coyotes end the week with a game against Tabor at 5 p.m. Saturday in Mabee Arena.