Amanda Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.) scored a career high 26 points and Kelcey Hinz (SO/Whitewater, Kan.) flirted with a triple-double as the Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Basketball team won its seventh straight game, beating the Southwestern Moundbuilders 79-62 on Saturday night at Mabee Arena.
“It was a really great team win,” KWU coach Ryan Showman said as his Coyotes improve to 11-3 overall and 7-2 in the KCAC.
The Coyotes relied heavily on their defense holding Southwestern to 35.9 percent shooting, well below their 41.4 season percentage and to 62 points, seven below the team’s season average.
“I thought our defense was solid, we rebounded the ball well in the second half,” Showman said. “We got stops when we needed to and at the end of the day we made enough plays to win and we are excited to head into the break on a seven-game win streak.”
The Coyotes forced 18 Southwestern turnovers that yielded 25 points which was key to Wesleyan’s successes on the night.
“Any time you can average a point per turnover or more, it’s gonna be big, when you’re converting those,” Showman said. “I think that it’s something that this year as a whole that we have done a really great job of and specifically tonight, 25 points off 18 turnovers.
The Coyotes fell behind out of the gates 5-1, but rallied to take a 6-5 lead on Hinz’ conventional three-point play with 6:24 to go in the first quarter. Wesleyan built a 13-9 lead on Hill’s triple with 2:35 to go in the first, and after Southwestern tied it 13-all, the Coyotes scored six straight capped by a free throw by Lauren Flowers (SO/Overland Park, Kan.) to take a 19-13 lead.
Wesleyan led 19-15 after a quarter.
Hill’s bucket with 3:47 left in the second, capped an 11-2 run for the Coyotes and gave KWU a 37-27 lead.
“Amanda was absolutely fantastic tonight,” Showman said. Coach Jenkins and I were joking that whenever she shoots the ball that we are surprised when she doesn’t make it.
“She’s that consistent and shooting a high percentage that every time the ball leaves her hand I think it’s going in and that’s a tribute to her and the hard work that she’s put in in this program and I was so excited for her tonight.”
Hinz continued to dominate the post for the Coyotes, finishing two blocks short of a triple-double in the game with a career-best 23 points, and 15 rebounds and eight blocks.
“Kelcey is redefining her position for us. She is a next-level player that I’m glad that she’s on my team. She was absolutely fantastic tonight,” Showman said.
The Coyotes carried a 13-point margin into the half, 46-33.
Courtney Heinen (SR/Axtell, Kan.)’s three-point play with 8:01 left in the third gave the Coyotes an 18-point cushion at 51-33. Southwestern would make things a little interesting, cutting the margin to nine with 6:05 to go in the third, but free throws by Hinz got things going again for the Coyotes.
A steal and layup by Gabby Mureeba (FR/Allen, Texas) would give the Coyotes a 19-point lead heading into the fourth quarter at 65-46.
“Our bench was great tonight. Jayme (Sloan) gave us great minutes in the first half and Gabby was solid all night long and Lauren (Flowers) has just been solid for us,” Showman said.
Hill’s bucket to open the fourth put the Coyotes up by a game-high 21, but Southwestern pushed back to a 14-point difference with 2:32 to go.
Hinz came up big again, with another three-point play to put the Coyotes up 17 as KWU came away with the big win.
“The break comes at the right time for us,” Showman said. “It gives us the time to recover and get ready for a tough grind of the second half of the season.
“Our team is motivated, they have senior leadership that knows what they want, they talk about it all the time; they’re goal-oriented. I know we will come back prepared and ready to do what it takes to take that next step to get where we need to be.”
Heinen added 10 in the victory as KWU was 28-of-67 from the field for 41.8 percent. She also added eight rebounds and Hill had seven as KWU outrebounded Southwestern 43-38. Wesleyan also got five assists from Heinen and four from Hill.
KWU is off until December 31, when the Coyotes head to Oklahoma City to take on Mid-America Christian. KWU steps back into conference play on January 4 at McPherson and returns home on January 8 to host Ottawa.