By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
In a season of change, success at home was the constant. In eight home games at the Sapp Fieldhouse, only one opponent had come in and stolen a win away from the UNO women’s basketball team.
Cornell came to Omaha on Jan. 7 and shot 41 percent from three. The Big Red hit 12 shots from beyond the arc on the way to a 63-51 victory.
A defense that had only allowed 30 percent shooting from three at home allowed Cornell to hit on 41 percent of their three chances. Thursday the Mavs gave up 39 percent to Concordia.
But this time that wasn’t the worst of it. UNO also suffered through 29 turnovers engineered mostly by the Bulldogs full court pressure.
“I think as much as it was a good press, it was us not handling it very well,” said Maverick Head Coach Chance Lindley. “I think we’ve seen some presses on and off throughout this year, and we’ve handled them pretty well. For whatever reasoning that game, we didn’t do a very good job of taking care of the ball and making the right decisions.”
Nineteen of those 30 came in the first half when Concordia built a lead as large as 17 points. The Mavs fought back and got to a tie at 39-39 two and half minutes into the second half, but the Bulldogs took charge from there.
Concordia scored the next eight points and never looked back. UNO got as close as two but the deficit ballooned back to 12 with 1:39 left in the game.
Paige Frauendorfer and Jamie Nash led the Mavs with 14 points each. Frauendorfer earned a double double with 10 rebounds while Nash added four assists and three steals.
“She (Frauendorfer) definitely has a knack for the ball,” Lindley said. “It’s a focus that she’s really worked on.
We know she’s a good scorer, but she also looks to be a complete player. Her rebounding…she takes a lot of pride in that. She knows how to box out, she’s a good athlete. You put all those things together, and it does explain why she gets a lot of 10 plus rebound games.”
Stacia Gebers was the third Maverick in double figures, scoring 11 points on six rebounds. UNO shot 45.7 percent from the field, but only 12.5 percent from three and 59 percent from the free throw line.
The low mark at the charity stripe came on 27 chances with only 16 makes. Bailey Morris led Concordia and all scorers with 16 points.
She was one of three Bulldogs also in double digits. Kristen Conahan put in 15 points of her own and Amber Kistler had 13.
The Bulldogs only shot 36 percent from the field and 68 percent from the free throw line, but it was the 25 Maverick turnovers that made the difference. Concordia turned 25 UNO turnovers into 30 points.
A 19-0 run by the NAIA’s no. 5 team got the Bulldogs out to a 34-17 lead in the first half.
For over seven minutes the UNO offense went silent, failing to score a point until there was 4:54 left in the half. In those seven plus minutes, the score went from a two point Maverick lead to a 15-point Maverick deficit.
While Concordia was taking control of the game, UNO could only come up with five field goal attempts and gave the ball away nine times. The Mavs got back on track with a 12-0 run of their own and trailed only 29-34 with 2:22 left in the half.
The Bulldogs led 37-31 going into halftime, but Frauendorfer and Nash continued the UNO comeback in the second. The pair combined for six points to start the second half and had the Mavs even 37-37 minutes in, ending a 20-3 Maverick run that had begun in the first half.
The Bulldogs answered and got back ahead by eight on a three by Conahan with 13:47 left. Conahan hit another three when UNO had gotten within 45-47 and extended the Concordia lead to five with 8:53 remaining.
The Mavs scored back-to-back baskets to creep back within three but then failed on their next four possessions. Another three by Conahan and two free throws got the Bulldog lead to eight with five minutes left.
Conahan’s three with 3:37 left got UNO into another double-digit deficit, and it was over from there. Senior Heather Pohl got the Mavs a three to get within six with 25 seconds left but Concordia’s Kistler made two free throws to end the scoring.
“When you turn the ball over almost 30 times, that’s 30 shots that we’re not taking, that’s a lot,” Lindley said. “You combine that with going 16 for 10 from the free throw line, it’s tough to win close games like that.”