Monster night by Hinz leads Coyotes past Southwestern 69-41

Kansas Wesleyan women’s coach Ryan Showman looked out on the court Monday night and saw a different Kelcey Hinz (JR/Whitewater, Kan.) than he’d seen in a while.

That’s not good news for opposing teams.

Hinz, the Coyotes’ indomitable post player, had a monstrous game finishing with 20 points, 18 rebounds (her 14th double-double of the season), four blocked shots and two assists as KWU walloped Southwestern 69-41 in a first-round game of the Kansas Conference Championship inside Mabee Arena.

The fifth-seeded Coyotes (15-10) advance to the quarterfinals and a game against four-seeded McPherson (16-8) at 7 p.m. Thursday in McPherson. The victory was their sixth in their last seven games.

Hinz had 10 points and nine rebounds in each half.

“You get a sense of urgency, I know Kelcey’s a competitor and I know there’s a different kind of urgency now since it’s the postseason,” Showman said. “I saw postseason Kelcey today.”

Wesleyan led 37-18 at halftime after closing the second quarter on a 10-2 run. Southwestern, though, made things interesting by scoring the last eight points of the third quarter and trailed 46-37 entering the final period. Emily Rank (SR/Kansas City, Mo.)’s basket with 3:59 left was the Coyotes last points of the third quarter.

Clinging to a 48-38 lead with just under 8½ minutes left KWU pulled away by scoring 21 of the final 24 points led by Hinz who had three field goals and was 2 for 2 at the foul line.

“I think it’s just knowing that there’s the potential of being done and I think we just want to give it our all and do everything we can,” she said. “Knowing it’s postseason I think our adrenaline and everything’s more heightened and I just want to finish at a higher level, and I push myself every night.”

Hinz got plenty of help from teammate Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) who had another monstrous outing with a game-high 22 points that included six 3-pointers (6 of 11), nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Together Hinz and Hill were simply more than Southwestern (2-20) could handle. They combined for 15 points the final quarter.

“When one’s playing well and then the other’s playing well it makes us really hard to guard because now, we’re taking two very good defenders away from the other team and that opens up opportunities for other people,” Showman said.

“They been in big games, they’ve been in big moments, they’ve been the focal point of big moments. I think that experience is only going to serve us well moving forward.”

As has been the case of late the Coyotes were dominant on defense, limiting Southwestern to 31 percent shooting (14 of 51) and forcing 18 turnovers that led to 18 points. They also won the rebounding battle by a whopping 50-27 margin.

Lauren Richter led Southwestern with 13 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks but was the only Moundbuilder to score in double figures.

“It was phenomenal,” Showman said of his team’s defensive work. “We didn’t come out as sharp in the third quarter, but we really locked them down in the fourth and were able to pull way.”

Next up is a McPherson team that had a first-round bye after ending the regular season with victories in five of its last six games. The Bulldogs defeated KWU 73-69 January 23 in McPherson after the Coyotes won 87-80 in overtime November 13 in Mabee Arena.

“It’s going to be a physical night and we need to adjust to that early and be ready to go,” Showman said.

“We split the first two times so it’s time to figure out which one is the better team,” Hinz said.

Hinz said the focus for her, and her teammates is only the task at hand.

“I want to get (to the championship game) and I want to go on,” she said. “We’ve been doing it one day at a time, one practice at a time. We’ve got the mentality of whatever it takes we’re going to do it.”