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UNO women's basketball downs Wichita State in Mavs home opener

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Check out this year's UNO Mavericks women's basketball squad!

Grace Cave sparked the UNO offense in the second half and then the Mavs used an 11-2 run over the final 3:35 of overtime to knock off Wichita State 72-67 in UNO's women's basketball home opener Saturday afternoon at Baxter Arena.

UNO shot 20% in the first half and trailed 24-20 at halftime. But Cave hit 3-pointers on UNO's first two possessions of the third quarter as the Mavs shot 46% after halftime. The Weeping Water graduate, who had two points at the half, finished with a game-high 18 points and also had seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

"She was huge," UNO coach Carrie Banks said of Cave. "We just needed to see the ball go in once before we do have great shooters. We just needed some confidence."

UNO led by six with four minutes left in regulation before the Shockers rallied. WSU was up 59-56 after hitting two free throws with 21 seconds left, but Cave rattled in a 3-pointer from the left corner with 12 seconds left to force overtime.

WSU hit 3s on its first two possessions of overtime, but UNO took control after that. Two Katie Keitges baskets tied it at 65 with 2:20 left, then a three-point play by Elena Pilakouta with 1:12 left put the Mavs ahead for good. Polina Nikulochkina and Sam Mitchell hit two free throws apiece in the final 10 seconds to secure the win.

Pilakouta added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Kennedi Grant had 11 points and seven assists.

UNO, which hosts Weber State on Wednesday, rebounded from Monday's 100-36 defeat at Nebraska.

"I think this is so huge for our mindset," Banks said. "I'm really proud of the girls."

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