KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It took them a while to shake off the winter chill, but Kansas Wesleyan's women kept right on rolling Thursday night, pulling away with a big second half to bury Avila, 75-55.
The Coyotes, winners of seven straight, shot 51.5 percent in the second half after trailing 39-34 at the break. They outscored Avila 41-16 over the last two quarters in running their record to 17-6 overall, 15-2 in the Kansas Conference.
With the victory, KWU remained a half game behind co-leaders Tabor and Sterling in the KCAC standings.
Wesleyan again rode a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures. Kayla Kiviniski led the way with 14 points, followed by Courtney Heinen with 13 off the bench, while Virja Lewis and Haleigh Bradford each had 11. Lewis also led the Coyotes to a 46-37 rebounding advantage with nine, while Gabbie Miller grabbed seven to go with eight points.
Avila's Paige Bunn led all scorers with 18 points and Matti Morgan added 11. Taylor Faulkner had seven rebounds for the Eagles (8-10, 7-10).
Wesleyan outscored Avila 20-11 in the third quarter to go in front for good, then blew it open with a 21-5 fourth period. The Coyotes' defense again was solid, forcing 16 turnovers and limiting Avila to 30.2 percent shooting, 22.2 in the second half.
The Coyotes also had 17 offensive rebounds, resulting in 28 second-half points and scored 20 points off turnovers.
The Coyotes travel to Leavenworth on Saturday to face Saint Mary, then return home Wednesday to take on Ottawa.
Wesleyan men 60, Avila 56
Kansas Wesleyan got back on the winning track after nearly upsetting nationally ranked Southwestern at home Monday.
The Coyotes led 29-27 at halftime and finally built a double-digit advantage with less than a minute left. With the victory, KWU improved to 12-9 overall, 10-7 in the KCAC, while Avila fell to 2-16 and 2-15.
Wesleyan shot just 40.4 percent from the field, but limited Avila to 32.2 percent with 13 turnovers. James Brooks had 21 points, including 5 of 10 shooting from 3-point range, to lead the Coyotes, who also got 11 from Marquis Kraemer and 10 off the bench from Zach Rammelt.
Shandon Boone's 22 points led the way for Avila, with Trey Heinrich scoring nine. The Eagles outrebounded Wesleyan, 39-35, led by Kenric Twine with seven.
Ithello Cross had seven rebounds and AJ Range six for Wesleyan.
Okla. Wesleyan men 93, Bethany 76
At Bartlesville, Okla., No. 2-ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan made quick work of Bethany on Thursday, rolling to a 46-22 halftime advantage and cruising home with the victory.
The Eagles improved to 23-1 overall, 17-1 in the KCAC, while Bethany slipped to 10-12, 7-10.
Joshua Wilchombe had 14 points and six rebounds, KJ Malveau 12 points and Chris Murphy 10 points with eight rebounds to pace Oklahoma Wesleyan. The Eagles shot 47.8 percent and outrebounded Bethany, 42-, 31.
Bethany got 21 points from Lavaris Duncan, 12 from Bryant Young and 10 from Tyler Larkin. Duncan led the Swedes with eight rebounds.
Okla. Wesleyan women 54, Bethany 38
Bethany's women led Oklahoma Wesleyan 24-23 at intermission, but faltered in the second half.
The Swedes (12-11, 8-9) shot 16.7 percent from the field in the second half and just 21.3 percent for the game as Oklahoma Wesleyan (15-8, 11-7) took control.
Nakayla Melton scored 15 points, with Danae Goodwin and Hannah Nealis adding 10 each for the Eagles, while Sarah Bartel paced Bethany with 12. OKWU outrebounded the Swedes 41-38, led by Goodwin with seven.
For Bethany, Sena Aktas had eight rebounds and Keisha Hamilton seven.