Women’s Basketball tops Spires 87-60

LEAVENWORTH – Kelcey Hinz (SR/Whitewater, Kan.) and Caila Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.) were late arrivals for Kansas Wesleyan’s game Thursday night at the Ryan Sports Center.


Both are students in the nursing program and had matters to tend to there before they could leave for the game. They arrived during the first quarter but neither played, then spent the second quarter gaining their footing after having no time to warm up.


The second half was a different matter, though. Hill scored 14 of her 18 points and Hinz tallied 13 of her 15 as KWU pulled away for an 87-60 Kansas Conference victory over Saint Mary. Hinz also had nine rebounds.


The victory ended a two-game skid and gives the Coyotes a 17-8 overall record, 13-7 in conference play. USM fell to 7-17 and 4-15.


KWU was able to withstand the early absences thanks largely to Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) – Caila’s older sister and a full-time nurse at Salina Regional Heath Center – who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. She scored 16 the first half as the Coyotes led 41-31 at the intermission.


“I thought Amanda was fantastic the first half,” coach Ryan Showman said. “Having a new starting five and I thought they did really well, getting the lead in the first quarter (19-12). It’s nice to kind of have that anchor in Amanda being able to make a play when we needed it.


“The second half was about as good as I’ve seen Caila Hill play. I told her she’s going to have to start coming late the rest of the season.”


Hinz scored nine in the third quarter – the last three on her first 3-point field goal of the season that came just before the horn and gave Wesleyan a 57-45 lead entering the final 10 minutes. The Hill sisters took over from there combining for 20 points as KWU pulled away by outscoring the Spires 30-15.


Showman was particularly pleased with his team’s defensive work. Saint Mary shot 33.3 percent (23 of 69) and had 23 turnovers that resulted in 22 Coyote points.


“We knew we needed to be really great defensively and that set the tone,” Showman said. “Just us being able to fly around and make some plays and then to be able to capitalize on our end.


“They’re extremely athletic and we knew they’re capable of scoring a lot, especially at home. We shot a high percentage and getting stops – that’s a recipe for success.”


The Coyotes shot 49.2 percent (31 of 63), including 7 of 14 from beyond the 3-point arc.


Tylieea Wallace (FR/Overland Park, Kan.) and Emily Rank (SR/Kansas City, Kan.), who started in place of Hinz and Hill, had productive games. Wallace finished with eight points on 4 of 6 shooting while Rank had six rebounds and scored two.


“I thought Emily, being a fifth-year senior and first start, came in and did fairly well,” Showman said. “I knew she was going to be solid.


“Tylieea being a freshman she has shown flashes and everybody sees what she does when she goes in the game. She’s had some good practices and I thought she was really good. She’s going to be the future down low for us.”


Jerrica Johnson scored 18 points and Alanis Delgado 14 for USM, which lost for the fifth time in six games.


Wesleyan’s idle Saturday and returns to action with a key game against Avila at 6 p.m. next Wednesday inside Mabee Arena. The Eagles (16-8, 14-6 KCAC) surprised Tabor 67-64 Thursday in Hillsboro and play Saint Mary on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.


Avila defeated the Coyotes 67-60 December 13 in KC.


“We put ourselves in a position where every game is monstrous, that’s just the reality of where we’re at,” Showman said. “We own that, we recognize it and we embrace it. We know it’s not going to be easy but I love the fact we’re at home.”