Junior guard Kim Rickels drives to the basket int he first half of the Lopers' 80-56 victory over Regis University.
Head Coach Kevin Chaney (left) meets with Assistant Mia Johnson (right) and Graduate Assistant Jenny Gilman (background) to discuss the game during the first half of the victory over Regis University. The Lady Lopers are 11-8 in RMAC play and currently 6th in the conference standings.
Junior guard, Debi Jhnson, rises for a three-pointer in the first half against Regis University. The team shot 52 percent from the field and forced 16 turnovers on their way to victory.
Head coach Kevin Chaney and the UNK women’s basketball team are fighting to keep their season alive. With the RMAC tournament rapidly approaching at the beginning of March, the Lady Lopers are pushing to be in the top eight of the conference standings in order to qualify for the conference tournament.
Under the direction of Chaney, who is in his first season at the helm of the program, the Lady Lopers have turned around a disappointing 2009-10 season. After finishing at 9-18 last year with an 8-11 RMAC record, the Lady Lopers are at 12-11 (11-8) with three regular season games left.
“It was hard to predict where we would be, it has been about improving what we had and staying healthy. We’ve pulled together, improved chemistry and built basketball IQ,” Chaney said.
After the first two months of the season, the Lady Lopers were 5-7, and coming off a 99-76 blowout loss at home to Fort Lewis College, currently 17-1 in league play and second behind 18-1 Metro State. Then came the turning point that breathed life into their season. The Lady Lopers went on to win their next four games, the first three on the road. After a tough three-point loss to Colorado State University-Pueblo, they tallied a nine point win against then number one Colorado Christian, and easily handled Colorado School of Mines the next day to finish 6-1 in their seven game stretch since the Fort Lewis defeat.
“You never want to peak at the beginning of the season, we started to gel and were peaking at the end of the season. Fort Lewis was an awakening for our team,” Chaney said.
Now cue the adversity. The Lady Lopers dropped their next two games, both on the road. The team was hampered by the loss of their biggest inside presence, senior forward Megan Becker. Becker hurt her right kneecap against Mesa State and was unable to go against Western State. She underwent surgery early this week. Her status is undetermined at this point.
Becker’s absence was especially felt against Western, as the team suffered an 88-67 defeat. This past weekend, however, the Lady Lopers ended their two-game skid with an impressive 80-56 victory over Regis University, before dropping a close one to Metro 62-60.
Currently sitting at sixth in the RMAC standings, the remaining three games will prove to be critical for the Lady Lopers.
“Replacing Megan Becker will be difficult, but this team has chemistry and they pull together. The challenge is how they respond,” said Chaney. “We have to take it one game at a time, we’re fighting for our lives. We are in survival mode, our numbers are low but our heart is strong.”
The lady Lopers will continue their season this Friday with a road game to Pueblo, CO. The RMAC tournament will take place March 1-5. Visit
www.lopers.com for more RMAC information.