The Western women have found themselves between a rock and a hard place after a 55-58 loss – their fifth straight – to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
The Griffons shot 41 percent in the first half, going 10-24 from the field, while the Mavericks shot just 29 percent, going 10-34. After giving up thirteen threes last Saturday to Missouri Southern, the Western defense improved on Wednesday. They held UNO to 7 for the night.
“This team (UNO) didn’t look to shoot the three as much; they had one girl that took most of their threes so we were able to concentrate on stopping her,” forward Jessica Koch said.
The Griffons were down by as much as seven early on, but got their second lead of the game with 8:26 to go in the first half after freshman Kayla Vice’s bank shot. The Griffons ended the first half on a 22-9 run to go into the second half with a 30-24 lead.
Western continued shooting well from the charity stripe, going eight for 11 in the first half and 15-19 for the game. The second half started about the same way it ended as the Griffons shot well and pulled to a 36-27 lead.
Things then took a turn for the worst as the Mavericks went on an 18-4 run and took a 45-40 lead with 8:13 to go in the game. Turnovers were a huge part of the Mavericks’ comeback, as the Griffons turned the ball over 21 times in the game.
“It was a little bit of the pressure getting to us and mental mistakes,” guard Kayla Vice said. “Our heads just weren’t totally in the game.”
Vice was second on the team with 10 points in the game, six of those coming in the first half.
The second half of was not only full of killer turnovers, but the Griffons also shot a dismal nine of 29. The one positive in the second half for the Griffons was Koch’s contribution, who led Western with 19 points. She also led the Griffons with eight rebounds and an assist.
The Griffons took the lead for the last time with 2:57 to go in the second half on Brittany Casady’s lay up. The Mavericks then scored five straight, but the Griffons weren’t going away; they pulled within one. UNO guard Alyssa Green then knocked down two free throws to make the lead three. The Griffons had one more chance to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Brittany Casady then took the final shot that fell just a little short and the Mavericks were able to steal one from the Griffons.
Western now must win their last four games to have a chance at being tournament eligible. The loss leaves Missouri Western with a record of 7-16 and 5-11 in the MIAA.