In head coach Carrie Banks’ inaugural season at the helm of the University of Nebraska at Omaha women’s basketball team, the Mavericks have done something no Summit League team has ever done before -- dethrone a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament as a No. 8 seed.
The historic achievement came on March 6 against the No. 1-seeded South Dakota State Jackrabbits with a 52-40 win. Omaha junior Josie Filer led the way in scoring with 19 points as UNO held SDSU to only 16 points in the second half.
Their second round conference tournament matchup was against Western Illinois, the winner of the contest would advance to the Summit League conference championship. Omaha was led by a different scorer in Claire Killian but the game yielded similar results. UNO defeated Western Illinois on March 8, 69-55 and advanced to the program’s first-ever conference tournament championship appearance.
But on March 9, the Maverick magic would come to an end as the University of South Dakota Coyotes jumped on the Mavs 15-5 after the first quarter. UNO made it 21-29 before halftime but a sluggish third quarter would prove to be the difference maker for the Coyotes. USD won the game 66-43 and denied UNO their first ever conference tournament championship.
UNO’s historic season finished with a record of 7-13 only going 4-8 in conference play but the Mavs showed a lot of upside for next year during the final stretch of their season. There are currently four seniors on the Mavs’ roster: Juliana Chagas, Claire Killian, Mikaela Ekdahl and Sophie Johnston.
Head coach Carrie Banks took to social media on March 11 and wrote: “Thank you to this team and staff for giving your all and leaving everything on the court during this historical season. I am proud of how you have always conducted yourself at the highest level in the classroom, on the court and in the community.”