The Nebraska-Kearney Lopers gained separation from Fort Hays State with a furious finish to the first half and the Tigers couldn't complete a late rally, falling to UNK for the second time this season with a 72-67 setback at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
UNK went on a 13-0 run over the last 2:29 of the first half to take a 48-38 lead into halftime. The Lopers capped the half with a deep 3-pointer from Madison Dreckman at the buzzer.
Kearney then stretched the lead to 14 with two buckets to begin the second half and FHSU never got closer than four the rest of the way.
FHSU cut the deficit to five with 6:09 left on a free throw from Jaden Hobbs and again closed to within five with 3:55 left on a Hobbs jumper. But the Lopers’ lead grew back to 11 with two minutes left.
The Tigers had one last gasp after Cydney Bergmann’s 3-point play made it a four-point game with 16 seconds left before Kearney put it away.
Kearney won its eight straight to move to 20-2 and 9-2 in the MIAA while the Tigers fell to 16-4 overall and 7-4 in the MIAA.
The Lopers placed five in double figures, led by 18 from Brooke Carlson, who was joined in double figures by Haley Simental (12), Kelsey Sanger (12), Elisa Backes (11) and Dreckman (10).
Kacey Kennett led the Tigers with 22 points while Jaden Hobbs added 12 and Belle Barbieri recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Check hdnews.net and Tuesday's print edition for a full recap with comments from FHSU coach Tony Hobson.
The Fort Hays State men were taking UNK on Saturday evening in a game that was completed after The HDN's press time. Check hdnews.net and Tuesday's print edition for coverage.