Kelsey McKinnis firmly stood her ground.
Normally at the University of Puget Sound, that means camping out near the 3-point line – or occasionally moving through the lane to get up the kind of wild shot only the most skilled shooting guards can make.
But her Wednesday was defined by two peculiar, un-McKinnis like statistics.
Five field goal attempts.
Five offensive rebounds.
And one very big win for the Loggers – 74-46 over Pacific Lutheran – at Memorial Fieldhouse in Tacoma.
It was the Loggers’ eighth consecutive win over PLU – and the most lopsided outcome in the Northwest Conference rivalry since the Lutes’ last win – 69-36 in 2008-09.
UPS buried the Lutes under a barrage of balanced scoring after halftime. McKinnis was part of it by tallying 11 points – second on the team behind Amanda Forshay’s game-high 17.
“We’ve been talking a lot about being more than one-dimensional, mixing things up and giving teams other looks because we have been a little predictable,” McKinnis said. “Tonight we did a great job at coming at PLU from all angles. They didn’t know what to do defensively.”
The Lutes had no idea how to stop McKinnis from doing the dirty work in the paint.
The senior from Ashland, Ore., was relentless in keeping Loggers’ possessions alive, absorbing elbows but tipping missed shots or loose balls out to teammates.
The game was tied at 25-25 on Samantha Potter’s putback basket for PLU with 2:27 remaining in the first half.
Katy Ainslie broke the tie with an inside bucket for the Loggers, and after Lutes turned it over, the 5-foot-8 McKinnis converted a missed Erin Stumbaugh shot into a three-point play – and a 30-25 UPS lead with 1:34 to go before halftime.
“From what I have seen, she is playing differently this year,” PLU coach Kelly Robinson said. “She is their go-to (player) when she needs to be. Last year she felt like she had to be (in the middle) all the time, and forced things and took a lot more shots. This year, she is doing the little things – and I think she is a better player.
“She was the difference tonight in other ways.”
Two McKinnis offensive rebounds led to extended possessions in the first 51/2 minutes of the second half, allowing the Loggers to pull away.
And for good measure, she sank a 13-footer from the left side to give UPS a 49-30 lead with 13:30 remaining.
Her five field-goal attempts were her lowest total since her freshman season in 2009 – which is difficult to fathom considering she is on track to leave the school in the top five in career scoring.
“Mixing things up for myself,” McKinnis said.
There will be some nights when the Loggers will need her shooting to come through – and in bulk. But the showing Wednesday was evidence that when the UPS standout is playing an all-around game, the Loggers can be tough to beat.
“She is hyper-focused on that (shooting) because she does it so well,” UPS coach Loree Payne said. “To get her out of (that) and see the big picture, it will help our team at the end.”