Hawks defeat Lions with size advantage

Freshman Elise Holden looks for a teammate against Shorter Dec. 19. UNA lost to the Hawks 72-53.

Points in the paint hurt the Lions for the second game in a row, as the women’s team fell to Shorter 72-53 Saturday.

With a size advantage, the Shorter Hawks outrebounded the Lions 53-33 and scored 40 points in the paint en route to victory.

“We’re asking about three or four of our kids to play out of position right now because of injuries,” said UNA coach Missy Tiber. “Most nights, we play teams that might play one freshman at the most, but we’re playing four, five or six kids that are freshmen.

“We can’t necessarily use that excuse though. What I’m disappointed in most is that we turned the ball over 15 times in the first half. We also missed 11 free throws today, which is very uncharacteristic of us.”

Sophomore guard Keke Gunter led the Lions with 23 points and 11 rebounds, completing the double-double in the loss. Sophomore guard Jaclyn Heath added seven points and seven rebounds. Without a true post, Tiber said it was difficult to find a rebound.

“Our starting lineup and size really hurts us,” Tiber said. “We’re in position, but sometimes the people just jump over our heads. I really think we’ve made strides in finding somebody (to box out) when the shots goes up, but we just have to push them back further.”

Freshman forward Katelyn Nunley, who finished with six point before fouling out, said it has been difficult to fulfill the role of a post without her usual help.

“It can get frustrating at times,” Nunley said. “Sometimes I want to shoot the ball, but I know I need to stay in the post because that is what’s best for our team right now. We just have to trust the process.”

The Lions travel to Delta State Jan. 2, giving the team ample time to rest, heal injuries and reload before its next game.

“We’re going to take a week off and come back on the 28th,” Tiber said. “We’ll get to work with quite a few of our injured players back. I also have a transfer coming in through the break who can play immediately. She’s a true post-player, so I’m excited about that.”