Basketball pre-season review

Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of

Andrew Nelson

The University of Nebraska at Omaha kicks off their men’s and women’s basketball seasons this weekend, so here is a look at the 2016-17 men’s and women’s Maverick basketball teams.

Brittany Lange enters her fourth season at the helm of the Omaha women’s basketball team. The Mavs were picked to finish fifth in the Summit League Preseason Poll released last month.

The team returns eight letter winners from a year ago, led by Preseason All-Summit League First Team member Mikaela Shaw, a senior forward. Shaw averaged 18.3 points per game last season, as well as 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

Joining her as returning starters are senior guard Abi Lujan, and junior guard Remy Davenport, who averaged 10.3 points per game a year ago.

Other returners who saw court action last year are redshirt junior guard Marissa Preston, and sophomore guards Ellie Brecht, Sara Echelberry, Amber Vidal and Kalen Phillips. The Mavs will also receive help down low from Division I transfer Courtney Vaccher, a sophomore center who transferred last year from Texas Tech. Freshmen Jay Bridgeman, an Omaha Westside product, will also join Shaw as a forward.

The Mavs also welcome a pair of guards who transferred from Wichita State. Red-shirt senior Michaela Dapprich and junior Moriah Dapprich. Michaela was a three-year starter for the Shockers averaging 9.8 points per game and appearing in three-straight NCAA tournaments. Moriah appeared in 46 games in her two seasons at Wichita.

Junior guard Jess Walter and freshman guard Alexa Fisher are the final newcomers rounding out this year’s team.

The Lady Mavs kick off their season 8 p.m. Sunday at Baxter Arena against Graceland, the team’s lone exhibition matchup of the year. The Mavs will then hit the road to take on Colorado State in the Preseason WNIT at Fort Collins, Colorado. The Rams are currently receiving votes in the Women’s Top 25. The Mavs will play non-conference games against Nebraska, Creighton, University of Missouri Kansas City, Florida A&M and University of Central Florida on the road. At home, Omaha will play non-conference games against Indiana State, Wofford, Lincoln University, York and Kansas State. Conference play begins Dec. 28 at home against Oral Roberts.

Men’s basketball head coach Derrin Hansen enters his 12th year at the head of the Omaha men’s basketball team. The Mavs were picked to finish fourth in this year’s Preseason Summit League poll.

The men’s squad is led this season by a pair of Omaha Central products, senior guard Tra-Deon Hollins, who was on the Preseason Summit League First Team, and junior forward Tre’Shawn Thurman, who made the Preseason Summit League Second Team. Also joining the Mavs as returning starters are senior guard Kyler Erickson, sophomore guard Zach Jackson, and returning from a season-ending injury in 2015, senior guard Marcus Tyus.

Also returning to the court this season for the men are junior guard and Omaha native Alex Allbery, junior forward Daniel Meyer, sophomore center Zach Pirog, sophomore Mitchell Hahh, redshirt freshman guard JT Gibson, redshirt freshman forward (and Omaha native) Ben Kositzke. Newcomers on the team this year are freshman guard KJ Robinson, junior guard Daniel Norl and Washington State transfer, senior guard Renard Suggs.

Omaha will travel to California this weekend to begin their season with matchups at the University of California Santa Barbara at 4 p.m. Saturday, and at the University of Southern California 6 p.m. Sunday.
Omaha will face Kansas State, Eastern Michigan, Cal State Fullerton, University of Iowa, Iowa State, UMKC, and University of Pittsburgh in non-conference games on the road. The Mavs will face Rice, Buena Vista, Montana State, Cal State Fullerton in non-conference matchups at Baxter Arena. The Summit League conference begins play on Dec. 29 at South Dakota.