They’re Back: Omaha Women’s basketball returns to the postseason

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Jack Hoover
SPORTS EDITOR 

Omaha’s Mariah Murdie jumps for the ball against Morgan State. Photo by Stephanie Veloso.

Last season, Omaha women’s basketball had to sit around at home while the rest of the Summit League was playing postseason basketball.

So after missing out on a trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota last season, the Mavericks are finally heading back up north to play basketball in the month of March.

It wasn’t a guarantee that Omaha would make it back this year. The team had to fight all the way until the very end of the regular season to make sure that the eighth and final seed of the playoffs was theirs.

The key game for the Mavericks down the stretch came against Purdue Fort Wayne on Feb. 22. Both the Mastodons and the Mavericks were vying for the last spot in the conference tournament. Since Omaha lost to Purdue Fort Wayne once already this season at home, a loss on the road could have effectively spelled the end of their season.

Instead, the Mavericks showed up when it mattered most, as three Omaha players went for double figures in a 65-51 win on the road. At the top of the charts for the Mavericks was freshman Ella Ogier, who scored 20 against the Mastodons. The performance was one point shy of her career-best, as she dropped 21 against Purdue Fort Wayne during the home matchup on Jan. 26.

Rounding out the rest of the double-figure scorers were senior Rayanna Carter with 14 and freshman Kia Wilson with 13. Wilson’s 13 points were a new career-best for her.

While the Mavericks haven’t picked up a win since beating Purdue Fort Wayne, their results have still shown improvement.

In their final home game of the season, the Mavericks came close to knocking off the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in a 67-71 loss. The game served as Senior Night for the two seniors on the roster, Juliana Chagas and Rayanna Carter. Unfortunately, the players weren’t sent off with a win.

Omaha’s return to postseason was guaranteed on the last day of the season, as the Mavericks hit the road to take on the North Dakota State Bison. While the Mavericks didn’t get the win, falling 64-67, they did get some help. Purdue Fort Wayne’s 59-96 thumping at the hands of Oral Roberts, the Mastodons’ ninth loss in a row, ensured that they – and not the Mavericks – would finish last in the standings.

While they are back in the postseason, it will likely not be the kindest of returns for Omaha. As the eighth seed, the Mavericks will take on the South Dakota Coyotes in the first round, a team that is currently ranked No. 20 in the nation and finished a perfect 16-0 in conference play.

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