Senior Jonni Mildenberger had 11 points after half time, and true freshman guard Debi Johnson scored 18 first half points, to help the 25th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney women’s basketball team beat Nebraska-Omaha, 87-79, Monday night at the Health & Sports Center.
This was the season-opener for both teams. UNK now leads the all-time series 20-9 and hasn’t loss to the Mavericks in Kearney in 18 years, a stretch of nine games.
Both teams came out of the gates extremely slow and there were more fouls then points over the first eight minutes. UNK was in foul trouble right from the get go as Mildenberger and fellow senior Jade Meads picked up two fouls in the first five minutes.
Down 9-5, the Lopers turned to its bench to turn the tide. After a three by senior point Kassi Schuppe, Johnson reeled off six straight to give UNK the lead for good.
The lead grew to eight after a three point play by Schuppe and then Johnson hit a three to give UNK a 20-11 cushion.
A key member of the Perkins County Class C2 2008 state championship team, Johnson was 5 of 9 from the field in the first half while also grabbing five rebounds and having two steals.
UNO, however, never went away in the second half, battling back from several double digit deficits to get within five, 78-73, by the 1:56 mark. The Lopers would then go 9 of 10 at the line over the final two minutes to keep the Mavs at bay.
Shooting 43.5 percent from the floor, UNK out rebounded UNO by eight, 43-35, and scored 29 points off 27 turnovers. UNK did have 28 turnovers but UNO scored just 13 points off them.