YORK, Neb. – Ryan Showman wasn’t exactly ecstatic with the way his Kansas Wesleyan team played, but he certainly had no qualms with the outcome.
The Coyotes shot 49 percent, won the rebounding battle by 12 and had four players score in double figures that allowed them to sidestep York’s upset bid 71-66 in a Kansas Conference game Saturday at the Freeman Center.
KWU improved to 9-3 with its fifth consecutive victory and is 5-2 in conference play. York fell to 1-11 and 0-7.
York forced 22 Coyote turnovers and shot the ball relatively well from the field (42 percent) and 43 percent 3-point range (43 percent), both above the season average.
“The game was everything we thought it would,” Showman said. “York made a lot of plays and made things difficult on us, but at the end of the day we made plays when we had to.”
York’s Nakia Hackel, who entered the game averaging 2.1 points, scored a team-high 15 on five 3-pointers – four in the first half. TaShay Jackson, who was averaging 7.1 points, scored 14 and Julia Trujillo had 12, above her 7.6 average.
Wesleyan prevailed, though, thanks to its top four offensive players. Amanda Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.) scored 19 points, Haleigh Bradford (SR/Schertz, Texas) 17 – 10 the second half – and Kelcey Hinz (SO/Whitewater, Kan.) and Courtney Heinen (SR/Axtell, Kan.) had 12 each. Heinen also grabbed 12 rebounds.
“Everything they did was absolutely huge,” Showman said. “Amanda Hill was great for 40 minutes and I thought Haleigh Bradford was great for the last 20. You throw in Courtney Heinen and Kelcey Hinz when we needed something … they just made plays.”
KWU was 26 of 53 from the field, 5 of 11 from 3-point land, 14 of 16 at the free throw line and out-rebounded York 38-26.
York, which entered the contest shooting 29.2 percent from long range, made five 3-pointers the first half, but managed just one second, finishing 6 for 14 for the game.
“We were more aware,” Showman said. “We got to halftime and we had a chance to really talk about that. We adjusted and I thought we did a lot better job shutting that down the second half.”
KWU scored the first 10 points of the game and had a 21-14 lead after the first quarter. York, though, opened the second quarter with a 13-3 burst and led three times before the Coyotes closed the half on a 7-2 run that gave them a 39-35 advantage at the break.
They took a seemingly safe 55-45 lead into the fourth quarter, but York rallied again and got within 67-64 with 1:50 left.
Hill saved the day when she scored with 1:18 left, making it 69-64. Jackson answered for York with 12.4 seconds left, but Hill ended the suspense by making two free throws with 9.2 seconds remaining.
Hill was 7 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and also had nine rebounds. Hinz finished with six rebounds, falling four rebounds shy of her eighth double-double of the season.
Showman was impressed with York, which is 4-71 in the KCAC since joining the conference in 20-16-17. Two of York’s four conference wins have come as forfeit victories. The Panthers haven’t actually won a game on the court in their last 48 tries.
“I know their record was 1-10, but they’re going to beat some people,” he said. “We knew had to come in ready to roll or it was to be us (they beat).”
The Coyotes are back on the road Wednesday when the play Saint Mary in Leavenworth, starting at 6 p.m. They close the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule at home next Saturday against Southwestern, starting at 5 p.m. in Mabee Arena.