Mavericks open Summit League play with win at St. Thomas

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Jordan McAlpine
SPORTS EDITOR

Elena Pilakouta led the Mavericks with 18 points at St. Thomas. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

The Omaha women’s basketball team opened Summit League play Monday night with a road win at St. Thomas, 61-55. The win was the fifth of the season for the Mavericks, who have won five of their last six games.

Elena Pilakouta and Lauren Frost led the way for Omaha with 18 and 12 points respectively. Pilakouta, who also had seven rebounds in the win, leads the Mavericks with 115 points through the first 10 games.

The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead in St. Paul, yet the two teams were deadlocked at 14 after the first quarter. Pilakouta scored the first six points of the night for Omaha and the Mavericks held a 12-6 lead with 3:03 left in the quarter, but a late rally by the Tommies evened the score. St. Thomas continued that late momentum into the second quarter and carried a 26-23 lead into the half.

However, the Mavericks came out of the break hot, and strung together an 8-2 run to start the third quarter. Pilakouta, Frost and Kate Keitges, who finished the game with 11, did the Mavericks’ scoring in that stretch, as they did for most of the night. Omaha used another run at the end of the third quarter to take a 40-36 lead into the final frame.

In what ended up being a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the Mavericks were able to hang on late and earn the win. St. Thomas guard Maggie Negaard, who was second in scoring behind Erin Norling (who led the Tommies with 15 points), scored six of her 10 on the night by sinking back-to-back shots from behind the arc, cutting the Omaha lead to 46-45 with 6:46 left.

A few minutes later, Frost responded with two of her 12 points of the night to give the Mavericks a four-point lead with 1:24 left. The two teams traded defensive stops from there and the Mavericks made their free throws when it counted, securing their first conference win of the season.

Omaha (5-5, 1-0) will now head to Macomb, Ill. to face Western Illinois (10-2, 1-0) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. It’s the second and final game of the Mavericks’ two-game road trip. Omaha will then return home to face Kansas City on Dec. 30. at Baxter Arena.

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