Women’s Basketball Falls to Denver

Photo courtesy OMavs
Freshman Emily Perterson (#20) has played well in limited playing time this season.
Ray Koch

Zero wins, five losses. A scary start to league play got even worse on Thursday night when the Omaha women’s basketball team fell to Denver at Baxter Arena by a score of 85 to 74.

Though the Mavericks have now lost seven of their last eight games, Head Coach Brittany Lange was “pleased with their effort.”

“It really was a one or two possession game down the stretch,” she said. The game had been neck and neck until Denver went on a 14-2 run to end the game.

The Mavericks had started the year with a seven game win streak, the best streak in almost a decade for the program. But now in conference play, the team faces a daunting challenge: bouncing back from the bottom of the Summit League. Omaha’s overall record is now 8-9; this is the first time since Nov. 19 that the team carries a losing record.

“The effort was here this game,” said Kalen Phillips, who played her first start this season, scoring a career-high 14 points. “Yeah, I’m grateful (for the start) – I just want to get out there and play for my team.” “She’s really selfless,” Ellie Brecht added.

Phillips added five rebounds and a steal to the stat sheet, while four other Mavericks – Courtney Vaccher, Emily Dewey (making her first season start), Brecht and Amber Vidal – also scored in the double digits. Dewey led the team with eight boards, while Vidal garnered two assists. Vaccher added two blocks, two assists and a steal, along with seven boards.

Overall, Omaha shot 45 percent from the floor, and 25 percent from beyond the arc. Denver’s numbers were very similar. “I thought we did a great job rebounding (in the fourth quarter),” mentioned Denver coach Jim Turgeon. Denver out-rebounded Omaha by six boards.

The fourth quarter specifically left a bitter taste for the Mavs; Denver shot over 83 percent of their free throws while Omaha only shot 50 percent. Omaha will need to win all three of their next games to have a hope of finishing the regular season with a competitive seed in the Summit League tournament.

UNO plays North Dakota State at Baxter Arena on Wednesday night, after having traveled to South Dakota last Saturday. Omaha continues its homestand with NAIA opponent Peru State on Jan. 29 and South Dakota State on Feb. 3. The homestand will be aired on 1180 AM Zone 2.