KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas Wesleyan’s last basketball game of a crazy fall 2020 was as good as its final game of the 2019-20 season, at the NAIA National Championships. Fueled by a fast start and on-point shooting, the Coyotes routed the Avila Eagles 79-59 on Monday night at Mabee Fieldhouse.
The win is the second in a row for the Coyotes who head into the month-long holiday break with an 8-6 overall record and a 7-4 record in the KCAC.
Seven of the eight Coyotes who played scored, and six finished in double figures led by Gabby Mureeba (SO/Allen, Texas) who finished with 15 points, headlining a balanced offensive output for the Coyotes.
Wesleyan shot a blistering 61.3 percent in the first half (19 of 31), and finished 56.1 percent (32 of 57) for the game.
It was a steady diet of 15-foot and in jumpers that did the trick for the Coyotes.
Defense was also big for the Coyotes, as KWU held Avila to 32.2 percent shooting for the game, including 7 of 27 from 3-point range. Matti Morgan finished with a game-high 26 points, but was limited to 8 of 23 shooting and 2 of 7 from 3-point range.
Wesleyan scored the first 12 points of the game, taking the 12-0 lead with 5:51 left on a bucket by Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.).
Avila’s first points of the game came on free throws with 5:34 to go in the first, as the Coyotes raced out to a 24-4 lead after a quarter.
The Coyote lead pushed to as many as 21 in the second at 36-15 on Kelcey Hinz (JR/Whitewater, Kan.)’s bucket with 6:03 to go in the half, before a 7-0 spurt by the Eagles made it a 14-point game at 36-22 with 4:39 left.
Emily Rank (SR/Kansas City, Mo.)’s jumper on the right wing stopped Avila’s run and sparked the Coyote offense to push the lead back out to 18 points at 44-26 on Amanda Hill‘s triple with just under two minutes to go in the half.
KWU led 44-30 at the half.
Avila scored the first points of the second half on free throws by Morgan, but it was as close as the Eagles would come the rest of the game.
Caila Hill‘s bucket with 7:45 left in the game made it 70-43 in favor of the Coyotes. Avila would close within 13 on the heels of a 16-2 run, with 3:19 to go.
Wesleyan would regroup, scoring the final seven points of the game to come away with the 79-59 win.
Balanced scoring was the name of the game for the Coyotes as Hinz and Caila Hill each scored 12, and Amanda Hill and Mia Needles (JR/Highland Ranch, Colo.) each scored 11 and LaMyah Ricks (FR/Shawnee Mission, Kan.) had 10. KWU dominated the rebounding totals, 41-27, led by 10 from Amanda Hill, while Caila Hill and Mureeba had seven each.
The Coyotes are off until January 13, when they are scheduled to host Southwestern inside a revamped Mabee Arena.