By Mo Nuwwarah, Opinion Editor
The Mavericks shocked No. 6 Washburn 87-83 Saturday at Sapp Fieldhouse, handing the Lady Blues their second loss of the season. The Mavs’ upset victory followed a 98-59 beating at the hands of Pittsburg State on Wednesday.
“You can either wallow in that or you can compete,” Patton Shearer said. “We had some outrageous performances.”
Two such performances came from Jamie Nash and Heather Pohl. Pohl, a junior from Millard West, scoreda career-high 29 points while hitting five of her 11 3-point attempts. Nash, a sophomore from Verona, Mo., played nearly perfectly at point guard, racking up 11 assists without committing a single turnover.
“I had to step up finally,” said Nash, whose 23 points were a career-high. “My biggest focus was making sure every possession counted. I think that made a big difference.”
Both teams topped 60 percent shooting in a high-scoring first half, which ended with Washburn leading 49-45.
Pohl scored 18 points in the half, while Jessica Zaruba added 14, nearly doubling her season average of 8.1 per game. The sophomore from Norfolk made six of her eight first-half field goals.
The second half was a different story, as the Mavericks stepped up their defense in a big way, forcing 14 turnovers while committing just two of their own.
Sophomore Page Frauendorfer, who finished with 12 points, tied the game at 53 with her only 3-pointer of the game early in the second half. Just over a minute later a Nash free throw gave UNO a 56-55 lead. UNO stretched its lead to 12 when Pohl sank two free throws with 6:30 left in the game.
Washburn closed the gap to within seven on a 3-pointer by Alyssa Mullen, who had 22 points and eight rebounds. The Lady Blues pulled within four at 79-75 after Cassie Lombardino, who leads the MIAA with 18.3 points per game, scored after an offensive rebound. She finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. Washburn outrebounded UNO 40-18.
Nash hit a crucial layup with just over a minute left to end the Lady Blues’ 10-2 run.
Washburn made the score 84-81 on a coast-to-coast layup by Megan Lassley with 15 seconds remaining. However, clutch free-throw shooting by Frauendorfer and Nash sealed the upset victory for the Mavericks.
Nash said the team’s hard work paid off in the win, and the Mavericks are looking for more success the rest of the season.
“It’s not enough to win one,” she said. “You’ve got to string them together.”
Washburn (14-2, 10-2) entered the game leading the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 59.9 points per game. Patton Shearer credited her team’s offensive spacing for the 87-point outburst. Pohl’s effective play also helped loosen up the stingy Washburn defense.
“She was executing and opening up lanes,” Patton Shearer said. “We had great performances from different players at great times in the game.”
UNO (6-10, 3-9) closes the month with games against Fort Hays St. (7-9) and Lincoln (Mo.) (1-15).
“I believe in this team,” Patton Shearer said. “They’re great, great young women. It’s just great to have a payoff.”