FREMONT, Neb. – Kansas Wesleyan got 20 points and eight rebounds from All-American Kelcey Hinz (JR/Whitewater, Kan.), but it wasn’t enough as the Coyotes fell to the Midland Warriors in Tuesday night’s season opener at the Wikert Event Center.
The Coyotes were also without the services of forward Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) for Tuesday’s opener.
“We knew Midland is a good team,” Wesleyan head coach Ryan Showman said. “Traditionally, they’ve been a good program in a good conference, and we knew it was going to be tough on the road, and not having one of our senior leaders in Amanda (Hill).
“We knew that was going to make it even more challenging.”
The Coyotes trailed 16-10 after the first quarter, but fell behind by as many as 18 in the second, as the Warriors hit six 3 pointers during the second 10 minutes, out of their nine field goals made in the period.
Wesleyan cut the difference to 12 points three different times in the third quarter, the last at the 1:13 mark on a bucket by Emily Rank (SR/Kansas City, Mo.) that made it 54-42, but a 10-2 run by Midland that carried into the fourth gave the Warriors a 64-44 lead with 6:10 to go.
Four Coyotes got their first varsity start in Tuesday’s game, including sophomore guard Gabby Mureeba (SO/Allen, Texas), who finished with 10 points and three assists, the only other KWU player in double figures.
“I was very pleased with Gabby’s performance,” Showman said, “I thought she was really good at the point guard (spot) for us.”
The Coyotes shot 44.8 percent from the field for the game, but were just 2-of-13 from 3-point range (15.4 percent). KWU did outscore Midland on points in the paint 40-30.
“Kelcey played well down low,” Showman said. “I thought we played as a team well in the paint. We shot a very high percentage. A couple of those 3s for us go down, then we’re able to finish some plays, and get some offensive rebounds, it’s a totally different game in the fourth quarter.”
Midland had five players in double figures scoring led by Katy Gathje with 16. The Warriors were 10-of-30 shooting from 3-point rank and shot 42.3 percent overall for the game.
The Coyotes are back in action on Tuesday for the home opener against Bellevue (Neb.), who is coached by a familiar face in Dave Denly, who spent several seasons at Southwestern.
“There’s a lot of good on the stat sheet,” Showman said. “There’s a lot of things we’re going to take and build on, but there’s also enough things for us to fix before Tuesday that have to happen for us.”
Tip-off for Tuesday’s game is currently scheduled for 5:30 at Mabee Arena, and will be followed by a men’s contest with Dordt.