By Andrew Nelson, Contributor
Last Wednesday, most of the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus was closed on a declared snow day, but that didn’t stop the Omaha and Oral Roberts match-up at the Sapp Fieldhouse. The fans that trudged through the snow received a show put on by the Mavericks own, Mikaela Shaw. Shaw went off for a career-high 32 points, tying for 14th-highest in a UNO women’s basketball game. Shaw was 10-14 from field goal range, 12-12 from the free-throw line and tied with Lanese Bough for the team lead in rebounds with seven each. Unfortunately the Mavericks lost the contest to the Golden Eagles. In fact, the wins haven’t been there for the Lady Mavs this season—but that doesn’t mean the program isn’t moving forward. “We are definitely laying the foundation and setting the standards for what we want to be in the future,” Shaw said. “We’re just going to continue to work hard so that way, when the newcomers come in, they’ll know the standards and understand what we got to do to be successful.” Shaw was one of the top freshmen in the Summit League last season, leading all freshmen in scoring and rebounds where she was fifth overall in the Summit League. She had three double-doubles as a freshmen and already has three this season through 23 games. The Deweese, Neb. native has clocked in some much-needed minutes for the Mavs in her young career. She was tied last season with Ericka House averaging 31.6 minutes per game, and was the only Maverick to start all 28 games in a 12-16 campaign. This season, she’s doing much of the same averaging 31.7 minutes a game and has started all 23 games so far this season. The sophomore got plenty of experience last season and it has definitely shown this year. She leads the Mavs in rebounds and points scored through 23 games. Shaw had 190 rebounds through 28 total games last season, and she currently has 186 through the Oral Roberts game this year. Her averages of 8.6 rebounds a game and 13.7 points per game are both improvements from last year. “I have a lot more confidence this year. I now have two years under my belt now so now’s the time for me definitely to step up in that leadership role,” Shaw said. “I know that coaches really want me to do that so they have my back, and it’ll be easy for me to step into that role.” Shaw credits her coaches with her quick successful transition to the college level. “All four of our coaches have really taken time out and worked one-on-one with me,” Shaw said. “Coach Lee Aduddell has helped me a lot with my shot which is something I struggled with coming in, but obviously it’s improved a lot,” Shaw says of the second-year assistant coach. Aduddell was brought in at the end of the 2013 season to work primarily with guards, and her early success has shown. Additionally, assistant coach Rodney Rogan works primarily with post players in his second season at UNO and second-year head coach Brittany Lange is in her fourth overall season with the Mavericks program. “Coach Rogan works with me a lot in the post, and watching film individually,” Shaw said. “Coach Lange is the head coach and she gives me the tools I need to be successful.” Around this time last year, Shaw went on a tear in her final five games of the season averaging 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. After her 32-point performance against Oral Roberts last Wednesday, Maverick basketball fans could be in for more of these stellar performances as this season winds down. “Knowing that last year, I did improve my game right at the end of the season, I was looking forward to doing that again, and it’s good to see that I have been doing that these last three games that I’ve put up pretty big numbers,” Shaw said. She has finished games with scoring numbers of 18, 26, and 19 points in three of her four games before the Oral Roberts game. “These next six games it is definitely a goal for me to continue to keep doing that and for the offense to keep running through me a lot,” Shaw said. “That way, my scoring a lot will open up shots for my teammates.” Three of the Mavericks final five games will be played at the Sapp Fieldhouse which has been friendly confines for the crimson and black this season. Last season, they finished 9-5 overall at home, and they’ve seeing the same amount of success in their final year at the Sapp. Five of the Mavs six wins have come at home this year, and they’ll hope to continue that as the season draws to a close. “It’s going to be nice to finish up with these next four games at home,” Shaw said. “We all love playing here at the Sapp, so we’re looking forward to it.” Shaw’s sophomore season draws to a close, but two seasons remain and some change will be in the air next season at UNO’s new community arena. The Lady Mavs will also be able to compete for championships and those coveted trips to the big dance. The sophomore won two Class C state championships with the Sandy Creek Cougars and was the state’s Prep Athlete of the Year. She was a third-team Lincoln Journal Star Super-State selection and first-team all-state pick and honorary captain. She was also an all-state volleyball player and state-qualifier in track in her career with the Cougars. She played AAU ball for the Nebraska Twisterz under head coach Randy Edwards. She scored 155 points in just eight games at the Miss Basketball Showcase which was fifth-most in the tournament’s history, and helped lead the Twisterz to the tournament title.