Hinz’s 18’s Helps KWU Women Cage Avila 72-60

Kelcey Hinz (SO/Whitewater, Kan.) had a simple and logical explanation for her rebounding success.

“Get the ball and get it back to my teammates because I knew they could score if they need to,” she said following Kansas Wesleyan’s 72-60 Kansas Conference victory over Avila on Monday night at Mabee Arena.

Hinz’s strategy was devastatingly effective as she grabbed 18 rebounds to go along with 18 points and blocked four shots. It was her sixth double-double of the season and was pivotal in helping the Coyotes claim their third consecutive victory (7-3 overall, 3-2 KCAC). She’s averaging 14.1 points and 10.4 rebounds so far this season.

The 18 rebounds is the second highest total in Kansas Wesleyan history (compiled game records currently only date back to 1998) and matches the 18 by Jennie Vopat on December 11, 2008 vs Tabor. Wesleyan’s school record is 20 by Tierra Baldwin at Southwestern on December 6, 2007.

Hinz, a transfer from Neosho Community College this season, had 10 rebounds and four points the first half and along with Haleigh Bradford (SR/Schertz, Texas) helped KWU fend off Avila’s comeback attempts. Hinz had 14 second-half points and Bradford scored 12 of her team-best 19 points in the fourth quarter when Avila trimmed a 50-39 deficit to 56-51 with 4½ minutes left.

Hinz helped the Coyotes win the rebounding battle 47-36 and their 17 offensive rebounds – seven by Hinz – translated into 12 second chance points.

“Double-double – that’s what I think of when I hear Kelcey Hinz,” KWU coach Ryan Showman said. “We talked about limiting them to one shot every possession on the defensive end and we had to own the boards. She took me very literally on that one and she owned the boards. She was absolutely phenomenal on the glass.”

Amanda Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.), KWU’s leading scorer, had three points and Courtney Heinen (SR/Axtell, Kan.), the third-leading scorer, finished with 10, but Hinz and Bradford stepped up. Leading 35-30 at halftime Hinz, who was 6 of 12 from the field and 6 of 6 at the foul line for the game, scored KWU’s first eight points, and 10 of the first 12, in the third quarter as the Coyotes extended their lead to 47-36 with 1:44 left in the period.

After Avila (4-3, 4-1 KCAC) rallied within five in the fourth quarter, KWU responded by scoring eight of the next 10 points, including five by Bradford. She scored seven points the final 4:03 as the Coyotes pulled away down the stretch. Avila didn’t score the final 1:57.

“We all know if one person’s not going to make it the next person’s going to do it and we’re going to get them the ball,” Hinz said. “That’s what matters most.”

“Credit Avila, I thought they defended us really well, they took us out of a lot of what we wanted to do,” Showman said. “They did a good job taking (Hill) out and making shots tough. But we found a way to get (Hinz) the ball down low and she finished. And Bradford was big-time, again. That’s the thing about this team, it’s a team effort. If it’s not one person, it’s somebody else.”

Hinz said the transition from junior college to KWU has been easy.

“They’ve been great leaders and very welcoming,” she said of her teammates. “It’s very nice coming to a team that wants to win and wants everyone to win at the same time.”

The Coyotes shot 35.4 percent (23 of 65) from the field, including 9 of 27 from 3-point range, and 17 of 20 from the free throw line. They forced 18 turnovers and committed 15.

Avila shot 34 percent (21 of 62) overall and was 11 of 27 from long range. Matti Morgan, the conference’s sixth-leading scorer, led the Eagles with 23 points that included six 3-pointers (6 of 10) – five in the fourth quarter.

Wesleyan, though, limited Paige Bunn, the KCAC’s leading scorer, to five points on 1 of 13 shooting, and Taylor Faulkner, the fifth-leading scorer, to 10 on 3 of 11 shooting.

“She gets in a rhythm and starts making shots, that’s not good,” Showman said of Morgan. “I thought we lost her a couple of times, especially in transition, trailing the play. She did hit a couple of tough shots, too, which we knew she was capable of.

“What I really liked, though, is when she did hit those threes we had an answer. We came down and we matched that, whether we got a two (point basket), whether we got to the foul line or we hit a three of our own. I thought we did a really nice job there.”

The Coyotes play conference opponent Bethel at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mabee Arena in their next game. The Threshers (6-4, 3-2 KCAC) lost to previously winless Ottawa 66-49 on Monday in Ottawa.

*Photos by Tanner Colvin*