KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It just wasn’t the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes’ night.
The Coyotes shot just 25 percent from the field for the game (15-of-60), which included a 17.9 percent output in the second half as the Avila Eagles would get the win 63-42 on Wednesday night at Avila’s Mabee Fieldhouse.
The loss ends Wesleyan’s 14-game conference winning streak and drops the Coyotes a half game back of Sterling in the conference race and tied with Avila at 14-3 in the KCAC. Sterling is 15-3 in the conference.
“It was just that perfect combination, that perfect storm if you will, of great defense by Avila and we kind of settled for some shots and couldn’t hit them,” Wesleyan coach Ryan Showman said. “Hats off to Avila they played really well tonight.”
Wesleyan bolted out to an 11-3 lead on Haleigh Bradford (SR/Schertz, Texas)’s bucket with 5:44 to go in the first quarter.
Avila cut it to two at 11-9, and then tied things up at 12-all with 2:52 to go in the quarter. A three by Gabby Mureeba (FR/Allen, Texas) put the Coyotes up 15-12. KWU led 15-14 after a quarter.
A brief 6-0 run by Avila put the Eagles up 3 in the second quarter with 2:35 left before the half.
Kayla Vallin (SR/Aurora, Colo.) hit a three just before the halftime buzzer to tie the game 26-26 at halftime.
“We talk about it all the time, you have to be sharp against good teams on the road,” Showman said. “And I don’t think we were sharp tonight.”
Kelcey Hinz (SO/Whitewater, Kan.) hit a pair of free throws to open the second half giving the Coyotes a 28-26 lead, but Avila responded with a 10-0 run that gave the Eagles a 36-28 lead with 6:31 to go in the third.
After a bucket by Jayme Sloan (SR/Bennington, Kan.), Avila closed the quarter on another 10-0 charge to take a 46-30 lead through three quarters.
Avila pushed its lead out to as many as 25 before picking up the 21-point win.
“We talked about it in the locker room, that this is a time to get refocused,” Showman said. “We still have a chance to accomplish the goals we set at the start of the season, we just need to hit the reset button and get refocused on what we need to do to finish strong.”
Vallin and Courtney Heinen (SR/Axtell, Kan.) each had eight points to lead the Coyotes while Bradford added seven. Hinz pulled down 12 rebounds to help KWU draw even with Avila 43-43 on the boards.
The Coyotes conclude their three game road trip on Saturday at Bethel in North Newton.