WINFIELD – Head Coach Ryan Showman knew the spark to get things going for the Kansas Wesleyan offense was coming, he just had to be patient.
Kansas Wesleyan outscored Southwestern 20-10 in the final 10 minutes and came away with a 64-57 win over Southwestern in the Kansas Conference opener for both teams on Wednesday night at Stewart Field House.
“It was a typical road game in this conference,” Showman said. “They’re so hard, and when you find a way to win, you have to celebrate it because it’s tough.”
That spark that Showman was looking for came in Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.). And Kelcey Hinz (JR/Whitewater, Kan.). And Gabby Mureeba (SO/Allen, Texas).
“Amanda Hill was our spark in the fourth quarter. She made shots,” Showman said. “Our offense allows the players to be basketball players, and to read a defense and take what’s available and at the end of the day we have two really good players in Amanda and Kelcey and Amanda took over.
“Amanda made shots. And if someone missed Kelcey was there to get a rebound. Gabby controlled the tempo. It was just really great to see some of those playmakers emerge when we needed them to. ”
After tying things up at 35-all with 7:38 left in the third, the Coyotes watched Southwestern go on a 9-0 run to take a 44-35 lead with 4:54 left in the quarter.
“That third quarter run they made, I didn’t like our effort during it,” Showman said. “I thought Southwestern got good looks because our effort wasn’t very good. So we called a timeout, got refocused and I absolutely loved our response.”
A three-point play by Hinz got things going for the Coyotes. A 3-pointer by Hill got the Coyotes within two at 46-44, and the Coyotes would trail 47-44 after three quarters.
Wesleyan fell behind by five to start the fourth, when things turned the right shade of purple. A 3 by Mia Needles (JR/Highland Ranch, Colo.) and a bucket by Hill tied things up at 49 and the Coyotes took the lead on Hill’s triple with 8:15 to go.
The Coyotes would build as much as a 9-point lead, 60-51 with 5:46 left on free throws by Hinz. The lead would touch nine twice more down the stretch as the teams traded buckets down the stretch.
“Southwestern is a good team,” Showman said. “They did some things that made it difficult for us. I thought Amanda Hill was absolutely phenomenal late in the game. I thought Gabby Mureeba was absolutely phenomenal, Kelcey Hinz too, and anyone else I put in was just a compliment to them and we were able to go on a run, pull away and get out of here with a win.”
The Coyotes fell behind 6-1 to start the game, and Southwestern maintained a 6-point margin with 7:12 left in the first. Wesleyan would respond, and take a 14-13 lead on a bucket by Payton Whaler (SR/Sublette, Kan.) with 1:53 left in the first and a Courtney Brockhoff (JR/Hiawatha, Kan.) free throw gave KWU a 15-13 lead after a quarter.
Southwestern tied it at 15 in the second, but Wesleyan would hold onto the lead at 18-16 until the ‘Builders took a 19-18 lead on a 3-pointer by Ashton Burdick, who finished with 21 points, 17 in the first half.
Southwestern continued on its run, extending it to 8-0 to take a 24-18 lead with four minutes left in the second.
The Coyotes took a brief lead back at 28-27 with a minute left before the half on a triple by LaMyah Ricks (FR/Shawnee Mission, Kan.), but Southwestern would take a 31-29 lead into the half.
HInz had another monster game for the Coyotes with 18 points and 13 rebounds as KWU was 21-of-56 shooting for 37.5 percent. Hill added 17, including 3 big 3-pointers and Mureeba equaled her career high with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Hill added eight rebounds helping the Coyotes to a 39-34 advantage on the boards.
Wesleyan returns home on Friday, hosting Ottawa at 7 p.m. at Mabee Arena. The Braves lost to Saint Mary 82-74 on Wednesday in Ottawa.