By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
After suffering consecutive losses for the first time all season, the UNO women’s basketball team returned to action last week, winning games against Sioux Falls and Dallas Christian while losing on the road to Missouri-Kansas City. After going 2-1 last week, the Mavs are now 11-8, but just 1-7 against Division I opponents following the 64-74 loss at UMKC.
Sunday, the Mavs locked down defensively in the second half and held Sioux Falls to just 34.4 percent shooting and 16.7 percent from three. Four UNO players scored in double digits, led by 18 from senior forward Heather Pohl.
Stacia Gebers had 16, Jamie Nash had 16 of her own and Paige Frauendorfer added 15. Nash led the way with eight assists while Frauendorfer and Pohl each had nine rebounds.
The Mavs shot just 41.7 percent from the field but got seven three pointers on 7-15 shooting from beyond the arc. At the free throw line, UNO took advantage of their opportunities, hitting 17 of 19 compared to just 5 of 8 for Sioux Falls.
The Mavs held the Cougars scoreless for almost four minutes midway through the first half and built a 21-14 lead as a result. UNO pushed it to an 11-point lead with 3:01 left in the first, but Sioux Falls cut it to 39-33 at half time.
A layup by the Cougar’s Alyssa Rushton got Sioux Falls a 40-39 lead three and a half minutes into the second half before the Mavs built another six-point lead. Yet with 8:48 to go, the Cougars had once again fought back and led 52-51.
UNO went on a 15-3 run and never looked back. The four Mavs who scored in double digits combined for three layups, two jumpers, a three and two free throws to extend UNO out to a lead they would never relinquish.
“Honestly, we’ve played two good games straight,” said UNO Head Coach Chance Lindley. “I know we lost to UMKC, but I think we saw that UMKC was a good team. They’re going to finish near the top of the Summit League.”
“We competed, we were right there. I think we’re kind of starting to catch stride a little bit and today I think it carried over. I know one was a loss and one was a win, but I honestly think we played some of our best basketball.”
For a team that barely got to the 50-point mark in their two-game losing streak, the offense exploded for 51.6 percent shooting and 84 points against Dallas Christian on Jan. 9. The 84-33 win was the largest margin of victory for a UNO women’s basketball team since the Mavs won by 59 at Chaminade on Dec. 31, 2007.
Sophomore Amanda Woodring led all scorers with 15, starting guard Nash had six assists and Pohl led on the glass with 12 rebounds. Frauendorfer the Mavs’ leading scorer at 12.9 points per game rebounded from a scoreless outing against Cornell to add eight points and nine rebounds to the UNO totals.
The 33 points by the Lady Crusaders was the lowest total amount for a UNO opponent all season. With no subs available for Dallas Baptist, the Mavs also achieved a season-best 20.8 percent defensive field goal percentage.
From the beginning, the outcome was never in question. UNO hit their first 12 shots of the night and led 33-7 after the first 12 minutes of the game.
The Mavs went into the halftime locker room up 45-16 and allowed only one more point in the second half then they had in the first. All 10 players who saw action for UNO scored a point, and nine of those 10 had six or more points.
A late rally wasn’t enough to get the Mavs their second win in a row two nights later at UMKC. UNO came from 15 down in the second half to get within five with 3:44 left.
From there the Kangaroos scored nine points to the Mavs’ four and finished off UNO 74-64 to win their fifth in a row. The Mavs’ Nash led all scorers with 19 while Woodring added 11 and freshman guard Cathleen Cox scored 10.
UMKC established their largest lead of the game, 65-50, with 5:20 left, but a 10-0 UNO run in just 1:25 of game time cut the deficit to just five. Cox hit a shot from three, then followed Nash’s two points from the free throw line with two of her own.
A Kangaroo turnover then resulted in a three-pointer from Frauendorfer but UMKC followed it up with a three of their own. The Kangaroos finished the game with six free throws while the Mavs got a free throw from Nash and a three pointer from Cox to finish the game in a 64-74 loss.
Although UNO outshot UMKC (44 percent to 41.3 percent), shot better from three (42.1 percent to 32 percent) and won the battle from the free throw line (75 percent to 66.7 percent), the Mavs’ 25 turnovers told the story of the game.
“Every level, every team is a little bit different,” Lindley said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of what we’ve been preaching all year – worrying about us. Not about who we’re playing against, not about what level, not about the other jersey.”