Women’s basketball gathers fifth win, outlasts Graceland

Photo by Dayna Berry

Kenneth Pancake

Scoring a season-high 96 points, the Omaha Women’s Basketball team defeated Graceland for their fifth win, improving to 5-2. Two Mavericks would combine for 49 points and three steals in the high-scoring game.

Against the Graceland Yellow Jackets, the Mavericks shot 41 percent from the 3-point line and 55 percent from the field overall, besting their season averages by 11 percent and nine percent, respectively. The Graceland Yellow Jackets were limited to 40 percent from the field, overall.

The Mavericks won by a score of 96-69 at Baxter Arena. The home team has won five straight, remaining undefeated when playing at either Sapp Fieldhouse and Baxter Arena. Three Mavericks are now averaging double digits in scoring – Jess Walter with 15.2 points per game, Ellie Brecht with 13.1 and Amber Vidal with 12.6.

Returning starter Courtney Vaccher entered the game as Summit League player of the week for her efforts against Wofford and USC Upstate in the previous week, while Brecht scored a career-high 29 points, hitting seven treys and shooting 71 percent on the night.

“I’ve always been a shooter – that’s kind of what I do,” Brecht calmly stated after the game. That, and more, proved true. In addition to her 29 points, the guard gathered a team-leading seven rebounds, three assists and a steal. “She’s just rock solid,” said Coach Brittany Lange of Brecht. “I know what I’m going to get from her every single day.” Brecht is nearly 44 percent on the season from beyond the arc, leading her entire team by more than 10 percent in that regard.

Starting guard Walter also had a great night, scoring 20 points with five assists, a team-leading two steals and four boards. Having only played in five of the first seven games, Walter leads her team in points per game average, with 15.2 points. She entered as a starter, replacing Jay Bridgeman in the lineup. Vidal, a veteran, is second on her team in points scored, with 88.

Meanwhile, with her career’s first Player of the Week honors in the Summit League, Vaccher exited the Graceland game with a 64 percent accuracy rating from the field and 85 percent from the free-throw line, leading the team in both efforts. Her field goal accuracy also led the entire Summit League at the time of the award. Vaccher was awarded the honors after scoring 15 points with 11 rebounds against USC Upstate and scoring 10 points with 13 rebounds against Wofford. She would also grab three steals, three blocks, and shoot 82 percent from the field while completing all her shots at the free-throw line.

The team played their 72nd Street NAIA competitor, College of Saint Mary, on Sunday afternoon. They continue their home stretch at Baxter Arena with highly anticipated games against Northern Iowa on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., and crosstown rival Creighton on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. They will hit the road to face two more opponents, CSU Bakersfield and CSUN, before returning to Baxter Arena to start their conference schedule against Oral Roberts.