Junior guard Justin Simmons has filled a role the Mavs have so desperately needed in 2012/13. The graduation of former leading scorer Mitch Albers left the team without a reliable scorer.
But Simmons has picked up the slack, averaging 14.6 points on the season and 20.5 in his last eight games. Some of that scoring success can be attributed to improving his 3-point shot, something Simmons has been focusing on lately.
Simmons changed his shot back to the form he developed his last year in junior college.
Carolyn Blair-Mobley had one year of eligibility left and a decision to make.
The 5-foot-10-inch forward, originally from St. Paul, Minn., had already played for Cloud County (Kan.) Community College for one season and then at Oklahoma State for two seasons. Her senior season, Blair-Mobley took a break from basketball to earn her degree. But she wasn't quite ready to walk away from basketball.
All the anticipation for men's basketball's first home game at the new Ralston Arena came to fruition Friday night. It took UNO a little getting used to the new house but the Mavs went away a winner 77-64.
Despite not being eligible for post-season play, the UNO men's and women's basketball teams picked up awards last week when several members received All-Independent Honors. Four members of the men's team, and three members of the women's team, were named to the 2012 Independent Basketball All-Conference Teams by College Sports Madness.
The UNO women's basketball team finished their season in Louisiana over the weekend, splitting their final two games with a win Saturday and an overtime loss on Monday.
Last Wednesday the UNO men's basketball team played their final game at the Sapp Fieldhouse before moving to the Ralston Sports and Event Center next season. Alumni were in town to be honored and in-state rival Nebraska-Kearney was on the court trying to ruin all the festivities.
In her final performance at the Sapp Fieldhouse, senior Heather Pohl's double double helped UNO earn a 68-54 win over Dakota Wesleyan and assured the Mavs of their first winning season in three years. Pohl scored 17 points, including 12 in the second half, pulled down 10 rebounds and shot 4 of 7 from three-point range.
Every team responds to losing streaks differently. After not tasting victory since Jan. 8 at Johnson and Wales, the UNO men's basketball team had no choice but to get on the court and play.