WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: UNO 71, IPFW 64
UNO managed only 24 points in the first half Thursday at Baxter Arena.
It had misfired on all 12 of its 3-point attempts, and trailed IPFW by double digits.
The Mavericks came out of the locker room late in the intermission. They took no warmup shots, then proceeded to drill 7 of their first 8 attempts from the field in the second half to wipe out the IPFW advantage.
UNO (12-12) went on to snap its three-game losing streak by outlasting the improving Mastodons (5-19) 71-64 to move to 5-7 in the Summit League. Mikaela Shaw scored 15 of her 23 points in the second half.
"We had some good open looks for our 3-point shooters; they just didn't really fall in," Mavs coach Brittany Lange said of the first half. "We adjusted a little to look inside and really looked to hammer it inside. I think we got some higher-percentage shots because of that. When you go to Mikaela early — and she gets an and-one to start the third — that usually starts the momentum going in the second half."
It was the second straight game in which Shaw sparked a third-quarter rally by scoring while being fouled to open the period. Remy Davenport, who added 11 points, then broke UNO's 3-point drought by hitting the first of her three second-half treys. Ellie Brecht added another as the Mavs moved in front.
"We knew we were going to come out of our little slump we had in the first half," Davenport said. "It's really unlike us to shoot that poorly. We knew we just had to keep shooting it and it would fall. But we really wanted to focus on getting it done on the defensive end."
UNO did that late, holding IPFW scoreless for the final 3:15 after the Mastodons had pulled within one on a drive to the basket by Kamilah Carter. She had 15 of her team's 30 points in the second half.
Keanna Gary was 6 for 6 from the floor before the intermission as IPFW built its lead. But she managed only one shot attempt in the second half as the Mavs battled back with their third-quarter surge.
UNO forced 17 Mastodon turnovers, including two in the final two minutes. The Mavs also turned it over only 11 times on the night, which Lange said was a key to the victory over a team that's playing much better.
IPFW had lost on a pair of buzzer-beaters, including one by the Mavs, and had earned its first league win in its three games leading up to Wednesday's contest. And then it had a 13-point lead early in the third.
"They've played teams really close," Lange said. "We were fortunate to get that win on the road. They've had some tough breaks at the end of games. Their record is not indicative of anything. They're a good team. They play as hard as anyone in the conference. And they take you out of what you want to do."
With the season winding down and her team coming off a rough week against the league's best teams, Lange felt the game was a must-win for the Mavs, although her staff never mentioned it to the players.
It would've been unnecessary. They felt that way also.
"I think it was kind of unspoken. No one had to say it," Shaw said. "We knew how bad we needed this one. Everybody on the team just knew that we could not lose. This was a do-or-die. We had to go out there and get this win and get the last part of our conference season going."