OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha women’s basketball team cruised to its fifth win of the season Thursday night, defeating Graceland University 96-69 at Baxter Arena. The Mavericks improve to 5-2 (0-0 Summit League), while Graceland remains 4-5 (1-0 HAAC) as the contest counts as an exhibition game for the Yellowjackets.
Leaders for Omaha
Junior guard Ellie Brecht led all scorers with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting with seven 3-pointers. Brecht also had a team-best seven rebounds with three assists. Junior guard Jess Walter added 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, along with five assists and four rebounds.
Freshman Claire Killian chipped in eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Jay Bridgeman went 3-of-4 from the floor, including a 3-pointer, for eight points, four boards and a blocked shot.
Leaders for Graceland
Emily Work led the Yellowjackets with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Alexi Matthews-Fells scored 14 points, along with six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. Haley Lysinger added 10 points.
Omaha shot 54.5 percent (36-of-66) from the floor and held Graceland to just 39.1 percent (23-of-64). The Mavericks shot 41.4 percent (12-of-29) compared to the Yellowjackets 37.5 percent (12-of-32). GU out shot UNO at the free throw line 77.8 percent (7-of-9) to 70.6 percent (12-of-17). Omaha held a 47-26 advantage on the boards, including a 28-13 lead on the defensive glass.
Inside the First Quarter
Graceland jumped in front of Omaha 6-2 on a pair of 3-pointers by Work and Christacia Dawkins. Amber Vidal scored five straight points as Omaha went on an 11-0 run to take a 13-6 lead with 4:18 left in the opening period. The Yellowjackets cut the lead to two on a 3-pointer by Lysinger with under 90 seconds remaining in the period. UNO took a 22-18 lead at the end of the first quarter on a jumper by junior Romekia Wallace.
Sizing up the Second Quarter
Brecht went 6-of-6 from long range in the second quarter as Omaha outscored Graceland 26-20. Matthews-Fells scored the first four points of the quarter as the Yellowjackets tied the game at 22-22. Omaha responded with a 15-5 run led by three trey’s by Brecht and took a 37-27 lead midway through the period. Another Brecht 3-pointer gave Omaha its largest lead of the half at 43-30. A long-range bucket by Work cut UNO’s lead to seven with under a minute to play in the first half. Brecht responded with her sixth 3-pointer of the quarter to give Omaha a 48-38 lead going into the locker room.
Looking at the Third Quarter
The Mavericks shot 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the floor and outscored the Yellowjackets 28-14 in the quarter. Quick buckets from Brecht and junior Courtney Vaccher pushed the Mavericks lead to 14 points in the first minute of the period. Later, Emily Petersen‘s 3-pointer pushed the lead to 20 points, 67-47, with 4:06 left in the quarter. Petersen’s second trey followed by two Wallace free throws gave UNO a 74-47 lead with two minutes left on the clock. Lysinger hit a three for GU in the waning second of the quarter to make the score 76-52 at the end of three periods.
Wrapping up the Fourth Quarter
The Mavericks shot 50 percent (9-of-18) from the floor and held the Yellowjackets to under 30 percent (5-of-17) from the field in the final period. Graceland outscored Omaha 12-4 in the first four minutes of the quarter and cut UNO’s lead to 80-64. Two Vaccher buckets bookended a 10-2 Maverick run that pushed the lead to 24 with 2:59 left in regulation. Layups by Walter and Vidal gave UNO its largest lead of the night at 96-68 before Lysinger went 1-of-2 at the line to make the final 96-69.
Omaha welcomes College of Saint Mary to Baxter Arena on Sunday, Dec. 3. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m