One of the keys to UNO's surprising start to the women's basketball season has been the scoring contributions from its reserves.
In Friday's 61-44 road win over Missouri-Kansas City in UNO's Summit League debut, Ericka House came off the bench to score 21 points. Prior to that, it was Casse Vaughn turning in a 28-point, 14-rebound effort in a win over College of St. Mary.
Heading into Sunday's 2 p.m. Summit League game at South Dakota, House is averaging 11.1 points and Vaughn averages 9.0. The junior college transfers rank third and fifth, respectively, in scoring for the Mavs (9-2).
Vaughn, a 6-foot forward from Little Rock, Ark., is famously productive — to the point that her six points in 24 minutes off the bench at UMKC dropped her scoring rate to 25.2 points per 40 minutes.
“My teammates and my coaching staff are making me feel like I've been here for years,” Vaughn said. “It's a good place to be.”
Vaughn is shooting 59.2 percent from the field (41 of 69) and grabs an average of 3.5 rebounds per game.
“I think Casse's best basketball is still ahead of her,” UNO coach Chance Lindley said. “She doesn't have to get 28 and 14 for us every night, but she's been consistent for us getting points and rebounds and stops.”
Vaughn said figuring out how to play in UNO's 1-1-3 matchup zone defense has been the hardest part of her transition to Division I basketball.
“It's my first time playing zone ever,” Vaughn said.
Add the fact that — after starting out at Division II power Arkansas Tech, then transferring to Arkansas Baptist — she's at her third school, playing in her third system in three years.
“It's like being a freshman every year,” Vaughn said.
Lindley, in his second year at UNO, said he appreciated what Vaughn has been able to contribute offensively while figuring things out on both ends of the floor.
Vaughn's 24 minutes against UMKC are the most she's played against a Division I team this season.
“Her defense is why she is playing more,” he said. “We've always known she can score. But playing this defense, it does take time to get used to it and for the most part the ones getting a lot of minutes are the returning players.”
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