Omaha women pull off first upset of tournament


Jake Thompson

The Omaha Mavericks celebrate after upsetting the No. 3 seeded IUPUI Jaguars 62-51.

Cody Rivera, Sports Editor

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – March Madness fans in Sioux Falls had been waiting and wondering when they would see the first upset of the 2016 Summit League Tournament.

They got their answer on Sunday afternoon, when the 6-seeded Nebraska-Omaha women’s basketball team took down the 3-seeded IUPUI Jaguars 62-51, earning a spot in the semifinals against South Dakota State.

“They made clutch plays and they stuck together the entire time,” Omaha head coach Brittany Lange said of her players. “They got better as the year went on and as the game went on, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

When the third quarter came to a close, the Mavericks (15-14) found themselves trailing 43-40. In the fourth quarter, however, they believed they had what it took to pull off the upset.

A layup and a 3-pointer by Abi Lujan put Omaha back in front, and they never looked back. With 3:29 remaining, Caroline Hogue dropped in a layup that stretched the lead to nine points.

Hogue contributed 10 points in the upset win, and she has confidence that her team can carry the momentum into Monday’s matchup with the 2-seeded Jackrabbits.

“I think that win really, really brought us together as a team,” Hogue said. “And I think we can win tomorrow if we execute our plays like we did.”

Mikaela Shaw, who led the game with 22 points, doesn’t expect many people to give them a chance against SDSU.

“I think it’s pretty clear that we’re the obvious underdog,” Shaw said. “I think we’re going to wear that title proud and go out there and do what we can do.”

“I think we can give them a run for their money,” Hogue added.

Lange said it doesn’t come as a shock when Shaw delivers big performances for her team.

“I would like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not,” Lange said. “She’s done that kind of stuff for us before, but tonight when it was clutch, it just meant more.”