OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha women’s basketball team dropped a 79-67 decision to Western Illinois on Saturday at Baxter Arena.
Leaders for Omaha
Freshman Josie Filer tallied her second-career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Filer went 7-for-10 from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers. Junior Rayanna Carter added 13 points, four boards and four assists. Sophomore Claire Killian chipped in 11 points and three steals before fouling out late in the game.
Freshman Mariah Murdie scored nine points to go along with four rebounds and two assists in her first career start. Freshman Sophie Johnston added seven points and seven boards, while sophomore Emily Petersen scored seven points and blocked two shots.
Leaders for Western Illinois
Olivia Kaufmann scored a game-high 24 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor and a 10-for-12 effort at the free throw line. Danni Nichols went for 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting and seven rebounds. Annabel Graettinger added 20 points, four assists and three steals.
Western Illinois shot 43.3 percent (26-of-60) to Omaha’s 38.1 percent (24-for-63). The Fighting Leathernecks converted 88.0 percent (22-of-25) from the free throw line, while the Mavericks shot 63.2 percent (12-for-19). UNO held a 43-30 advantage on the boards but committed 21 turnovers compared to 12 by WIU.
Inside the First Half
Omaha jumped out to a quick start leading 14-9 by the midway point of the first quarter. Carter and Murdie combined for nine points in the early part of the game. A jumper by Carter pushed Omaha’s lead to seven at 18-11 with 2:59 remaining. A Graettinger three-point play followed by a Kaufmann layup cut the Maverick lead to 18-16 in the final two minutes of the period, but a Petersen jumper made it 20-16 after the first 10 minutes of action.
Four quick points by Filer in the early part of the second quarter pushed Omaha’s lead to eight at 26-18. The Fighting Leathernecks trimmed the lead to 27-24 on a Taylor Higginbotham bucket. Three-pointers by Petersen and Filer pushed UNO’s lead to 37-29 with 1:13 left in the half but WIU finished the half on a 5-0 run to cut Omaha’s lead to 37-34 at the break.
Inside the Second Half
Omaha pushed its lead back to six, 43-37, early in the second half thanks to consecutive three-point plays from Murdie and Killian. Nichols then hit back-to-back 3-pointers as Western Illinois tied the game at 43-43 with 6:31 left in the third quarter. The next five minutes featured two ties and four lead changes before Western Illinois closed the period on a 9-0 run to lead 57-50 heading into the final period.
Filer, who has 12 points in the first three quarters, came out in the fourth to shoot 3-of-3 with a 3-pointer for eight more points. Western Illinois shot 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from the floor compared to Omaha’s 43.8 percent (7-of-16). Graettinger stepped up the Fighting Leathernecks by scoring 13 points, including a 6-of-6 effort at the line, in the final stanza. WIU took its largest lead with 6:56 left in regulation, going up 65-52. They led by at least nine the rest of the way.
Noting Today’s Game
– Omaha is now 7-17 (1-10 Summit League) on the season, while Western Illinois improved to 12-13 (8-4).
– The Fighting Leathernecks have won four straight games.
– Filer set a career-high with 20 points en route to her second career double-double.
– Murdie made her first career start.
– Today’s starting five of Carter, Filer, Johnston, Killian and Murdie marks the third different lineup of the year.
Omaha returns to the hardwood on Wednesday, Feb. 13 against league-leading South Dakota State at 7 p.m.