Men’s Basketball Take a Road Win; Women Fall to Fort Wayne

Photo courtesy OMavs

Kenneth Pancake

The UNO Men’s Basketball team can finally take a breath of fresh air. After a difficult non-conference schedule (to put it mildly), they achieved their first conference win. And while the Omaha women’s team saw success earlier in the season, their latest loss drops them to 8-7 overall, and 0-3 in the Summit League.

The Men: In their first win away from Baxter Arena, the Omaha men’s basketball team conquered Western Illinois on Thursday night, improving to 6-13 (1-2 in the Summit League) on the season. Lamar Wofford-Humphrey lit up the night with a career-best 18 points, adding seven rebounds. The final score at the buzzer was 87 to 66.

Wofford-Humphrey, matched in points with Zach Jackson, sunk seven of nine field goals – of those field goals, three were from beyond the arc. Jackson gathered five boards, two assists and two steals, while JT Gibson and Daniel Norl each scored 16, while Norl added six rebounds and two assists. Gibson gained six assists against the Leathernecks, making him the team leader for assists so far this season. Meanwhile, Zach Jackson leads the team in rebounds, steals and points per game average.

The team is slowly bouncing back from a dire fall schedule. Omaha had opened its season with 10 losses in 11 games, playing only one home game due to the hosting of the U.S. Olympic Curling Trials at Baxter Arena. While the women’s team combated this issue by holding back-to-back home games in Sapp Fieldhouse, the men chose to compete in all four time zones in the continental United States. However, the team has gone 5-3 since Dec. 13, when the Mavericks defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves in a down-to-the-wire thriller.

After facing Fort Wayne on the road (result pending), Omaha will host Denver on Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. With a quick turnaround, the Mavs will also host South Dakota on Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.

The Women: After winning seven games in a row earlier this season, the Mavericks have suffered five losses in six games, with the most recent defeat being against Fort Wayne, 76-65.

Jess Walter and Amber Vidal led the team with 14 points apiece. Walter added two rebounds, one assist and a steal; Vidal grabbed seven assists and two boards, along with a steal. Claire Killian and Ellie Brecht would each shoot 4 for 11, though Brecht shot from beyond the arc 10 times, compared to Killian’s two.

Walter, Vidal and Brecht are each averaging double digits in scoring this season, with 12.9, 12.3 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. Vidal also leads in assists, with a total of 64. Killian leads the Mavericks in steals so far this season with 22, and Courtney Vaccher leads in rebounds with 94 boards.

After facing Western Illinois at Baxter Arena (result pending), the Omaha team will stay home to face Denver on Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. Then, they travel to face South Dakota on Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. in an effort to nab their first Summit League win.