Outstanding defensive effort pushes Coyotes past Eagles 87-46

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ryan Showman didn’t have to look at the final statistics to know why his Kansas Wesleyan women won by 41 points.


The Coyotes forced a whopping 31 Avila turnovers that led to 28 points and fueled their 87-46 Kansas Conference victory Thursday night inside Mabee Fieldhouse.


“I really felt like that was the difference in the game,” Showman said on his postgame radio show. “We turned up the pressure in the fullcourt and we were just relentless with that. We just kept turning up the heat, turning up the pressure and the girls really fed off of that.”


KWU’s pressure was a four-quarters tsunami. The Eagles had nine turnovers in the first quarter, 16 by halftime and 26 after three periods.


The Coyotes (3-5 overall, 3-1 KCAC) also limited Avila to 30.6 percent shooting (15 of 49) that included 3 of 18 from beyond the 3-point arc. They led 19-6 after one quarter, had a 29-point (46-17) lead at the break and were up 71-35 going into the final 10 minutes. They led by as many as 44 points (85-41) late in the game.


“That was a good road win to get because this is not an easy place to play,” Showman said. “I was talking to Caila (Hill) on the bench and said ‘man, we’ve taken some butt kickings in this building over your career and so it’s really nice to come in here and get a big win like that.'”


KWU shot 54 percent (32 of 59), 6 of 19 from long range. Eleven Coyotes scored led by Tylieea Wallace (SO/Overland Park, Kan.) with 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting and LaMyah Ricks (JR/Shawnee Mission, Kan.) 16 on 6 of 8 shooting. They combined for 22 points the first half.


“There was obviously a height advantage and ‘T’ is really physical,” Showman said of Wallace. “We knew we would have an advantage and we were going to go to her. We told her ‘you better take it strong (to the rim) and finish’ and that’s what she does really well.”


Hill was 4 of 6 shooting and had nine points to go along with a team-best eight rebounds. Wesleyan’s reserves outscored Avila’s backups 43-18.


While pleased with his team’s performance and third consecutive victory Showman said there’s room for improvement.


“It shows the growth of this team and I still think our best basketball’s ahead of us,” he said. “We still turned it over 19 times, were 1 for 10 in the second half from the 3-point point line and we made 65 percent of our free throws. Those stats aren’t going to win us games against the top teams right now. But you’re seeing growth and that’s all I can ask as a coach.”


Emily Baldwin led Avila (1-8, 1-4 KCAC) with 24 points but was the only Eagle in double figures.


“The only thing that matters right now is we’re 3-1 in the conference,” Showman said. “The overall record will take care of itself if we stay focused and take it one day at a time.”


The Coyotes return home Saturday for a conference game against Oklahoma Wesleyan starting at 5 p.m. inside Mabee Arena. OKWU (3-6, 2-3 KCAC) lost to Friends 48-43 Thursday night in Bartlesville, Okla. and has lost five of its last seven games.