Women’s basketball closes home schedule with loss

Photo courtesy Omavs
The Mavericks finished the season 11-14, after starting 6-2.
Kenneth Pancake

In the final home game of what has been a rollercoaster of a season, the Omaha women’s basketball team fell to Summit League leader South Dakota by a score of 72-50.

“They’re undefeated in the league for a reason,” said Omaha Head Coach Brittany Lange after the game. “I really liked the shots that we got… this is definitely growth for us as a team.”

Despite the growth that Lange saw, the stat sheet told a contrasting story – only 50 percent of their shots from the charity stripe made it in, and the Mavs only shot 32.7 percent from the field. Omaha turned the ball over 20 times, losing the points-from-turnovers margin 19 to seven.

Omaha never led in the game, as South Dakota jumped out to a 10-point lead. Omaha pulled within four before USD returned fire, ending the first half at a score of 34-23. In the second half, Omaha was two of 14 from beyond the 3-point line.

Amber Vidal, in yet another high-scoring performance, led the team with 20 points; she was the only Maverick to score in the double digits. This was Vidal’s 11th double-figure scoring effort, and 12th team-leading points count. Courtney Vaccher, the past Summit League Player of the Week who recently eclipsed 300 rebounds on her career, added a team-high five rebounds, while Emily Petersen gave a team-high three assists from the bench. Kalen Phillips led the team with two steals.

Meanwhile, South Dakota had four teammates give a double-digit scoring effort; Kate Liveringhouse scored 14, Allison Arens scored 12 and bench scorers Jasmine Trimboli and Chloe Lamb each scored 10 points. The Coyotes had nine steals, 20 assists and 33 rebounds. As of Feb. 16, South Dakota now touts a winning streak of 15 straight games, leading the Summit League at a record of 22-5 and 12-0. While the win was by a decisive margin, South Dakota only shot 22.7 percent from the arc. The Coyotes 46.4 percent of their field goals overall.

The young Omaha team began the season with two losses, then won seven straight games – the largest streak since the 2007-08 Maverick team. That was followed by eight losses in their next nine games. They now sit at sixth place in the Summit League, at 11-13 overall and 2-9 in the Summit League.

Many injuries have contributed to the rotating lineups during conference play: star guard Ellie Brecht sat out again with an injured knee. The team has also lost depth at some positions from injury, losing players like Jay Bridgeman. Brecht, along with Vidal and Jess Walter, lead the team in scoring, averaging double-digit scoring in every contest. Vidal leads the team with 315 points on the year.

Next, Omaha will close out their season with a road trip to Oral Roberts and North Dakota State on Feb. 21 and 24, respectively. The Oral Roberts game will be broadcast on 1180 AM Zone 2, while the North Dakota State game will be broadcast on 1290 KOIL. The Summit League Championship tournament will then take place in South Dakota on March 3 through 6.