OMAHA, Neb. – Junior guard Amber Vidal had a career-high 24 points to help the Omaha women’s basketball team defeat Northern Iowa, 78-74, on Wednesday night at Baxter Arena.
With the win, the Mavericks improved to 7-2 on the season (0-0 Summit League) while the Panthers fell to 2-6 overall (0-0 Missouri Valley). Omaha has won seven-straight games, its longest winning streak since transitioning to Division I.
Inside the First Quarter
Northern Iowa opened an early 4-0 lead, but Omaha responded with a 7-0 run. A Jay Bridgeman three-pointer with 4:09 left on the clock broke a 9-9 tie. The Mavericks outscored the Panthers 5-0 over the final minute and took a 19-13 lead after the first 10 minutes. UNI shot 42.9 percent (6-of-14) compared to UNO’s 40.0 percent (6-of-15). Omaha connected on 60.0 percent (3-of-5) of its shots from behind the three-point arc while Northern Iowa hit only 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from distance. UNO converted three UNI turnovers into five points in the period. The Mavericks hit all four of their free throw attempts while the Panthers did not attempt a shot.
Sizing Up the Second Quarter
A jumper by Courtney Vaccher followed by a three-pointer from Vidal pushed the Omaha lead to 11, 26-15, two minutes into the second quarter. UNI cut the lead to seven midway through the quarter off a jumper by Rose Simon-Ressler. A pair of Vidal free throws gave the Mavericks their largest lead of the game at 13 (41-28). Northern Iowa’s Kennedy Kirkpatrick knocked down two free throws to make the score 43-32 at the half. Omaha improved its shooting to 57.1 percent (8-of-14) in the second quarter while Northern Iowa shot 43.8 percent (7-of-16). UNO connected on 50 percent (1-of-2) from behind the three-point arc while UNI managed only 28.6 percent (2-of-7) from deep. Omaha turned three Northern Iowa turnovers into six points in the second quarter.
Looking at the Third Quarter
Northern Iowa opened the second half on a 12-2 run, cutting the Omaha lead to 45-44. Back-to-back layups by Vidal pushed UNO back in front by five, 49-44, with 6:24 left in the third quarter. A Simon-Rossler trey with 3:08 left in the period gave UNI its first lead since the opening quarter at 54-53. Claire Killian scored the final five Maverick points of the period for a 58-56 Omaha lead heading into the final stanza. Northern Iowa forced Omaha into six turnovers in the quarter while committing three. Both teams shot more than 50 percent for the period with UNI converting 58.5 percent (10-of-17) from the floor while UNO connected on 53.8 percent (7-of-13). The Panthers made 44.4 percent (4-of-9) of their three-point attempts while the Mavericks made only 20.0 percent (1-of-5).
Wrapping Up the Fourth Quarter
Abby Gerrits tied the game at 58-58 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Killian had five points for the Mavericks as part of a 13-0 run to retake the lead, 65-58 with 7:21 left in regulation. Vidal knocked down three free throws, and Killian connected on a layup in the final two minutes, and Omaha held on for a 78-74 victory. The Mavericks shot 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the floor while the Panthers hit 44.4 percent (8-of-18) from the field.
Inside the Box Score
• Vidal led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor.
• Killian had 16 points, four rebounds and two steals.
• Vaccher added 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
• Omaha outshot Northern Iowa 50.9 percent (29-of-57) to 47.7 percent (31-of-65) from the floor.
• UNI went 9-of-34 (26.5 percent) from behind the 3-point arc compared to 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) by UNO.
• Omaha made 78.9 percent (15-of-19) of its free throws compared to 50 percent (3-of-6) by Northern Iowa.
Omaha concludes its four-game home stand on Sunday, Dec. 10 against Creighton. Tipoff from Baxter Arena is 1 p.m.