Hastings women's basketball

In their last two games, Hastings has beaten No. 12 Northwestern by 10 and No. 6 Dordt by 19.

The Hastings women's basketball team looks to complete the trifecta on Wednesday.

In their last two games, the Broncos have beaten No. 12 Northwestern by 10 and No. 6 Dordt by 19. On Wednesday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Hastings faces No. 10 St. Xavier (Ill.).

Thus far, Hastings has bounced back nicely from last year's 20-13 record. The Broncos are 13-0 and have climbed to No. 4 in the NAIA Division II poll.

"Honestly, I didn't think at this point that we'd be undefeated," said Hastings coach Jina Douglas, whose team also won at No. 7 Morningside in late November. "No offense to our team, but we had a tough schedule and we were on the road a lot to start the season."

What has aided the Broncos is a balanced and experienced lineup. Of the five Broncos who average between 9.2 and 14.1 points per game, four are seniors and the other is a junior.

"A lot of our players have played a lot of minutes for us leading up to this year," said Douglas, who was a three-year starter at Nebraska in the early 2000s. "We are undersized, but we're really fast and athletic. That's been a key, pressuring teams and turning them over."

Case in point, Saturday's 88-69 win over Dordt. A bigger Dordt team outrebounded Hastings 36-26, but the Broncos forced 32 turnovers and committed just 13.

"We knew if we got in a half-court game, we could be in for a long day," said Douglas, whose team averages 81.4 points a game. "Our guards did a good job of getting into their guards, just pushing them out as far as possible."

Hastings is third in the NAIA in steals (15.6 per game) and turnover margin (plus-11.2). Hastings forces 26 turnovers a game.

Back again to lead the Broncos is 5-foot-3 guard Shandra Farmer, who leads the team in scoring (14.1), assists (4.8) and steals (3.2). The Hastings St. Cecilia grad is healthy after dealing with injuries a year ago - Hastings went 2-6 in an eight-game stretch when she was out in the middle of the season.

"Teams try to just key on her, but she's done a great job of distributing the ball, looking for her teammates, making sure everyone else is involved," Douglas said. "Kids playing around her have raised their games, as well. She just makes players around her better."

Millard North's Gabby Grasso, the team's tallest player at 5-11, averages 13.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks, while Taylor Beacom (Papio South) averages 10.8 points off the bench. Kaitlyn Schmit (Omaha Duchesne) and Sophia Pankratz (Hastings) also are close to double figures at 9.9 and 9.2 points.

"Our players have battled. Our undersized players have battled inside," Douglas said.

In other Midlands notes:

While Hastings is fourth in the NAIA poll, defending champion Concordia remains No. 1. Last week, point guard Grace Barry recorded a triple-double with 20 points, 10 assists and 10 steals in an 88-77 win over No. 7 Morningside. Barry is fourth in the NAIA in steals, averaging 4.0 a game. Concordia plays at No. 2 Southeastern (Fla.) on Friday - the Bulldogs beat Southeastern 63-62 in overtime in October.

The UNK women's basketball team (10-1) set single-game program records for points and 3-pointers made in Saturday's 127-39 win over Manhattan Christian. Twelve Lopers made 3s as they went 24 of 48. Kelsey Sanger was 5 of 6 and scored a career-high 25 points.

Two former Chadron State wrestlers are part of the NWCA's Division II 2020 Jim Koch Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday. Brett Hunter is CSC's only two-time national champion as he won in 2007 and 2009. Hunter, now CSC's coach, has the school's career wins record (133). Also entering the hall is Josh Majerus, Chadron's only three-time Division II All-American (2007-09). Majerus now coaches at Twin River High School.

National runner-up UNK finished second in the NCAA Division II volleyball poll. Wayne State finished 13th. Eight of the top 13 teams in the poll were from the Central Region.