The loss snapped an eight game win streak by the Cougars and marks their second loss of the season. It was also their first loss at home.
UNO controlled the lead and tempo in the early minutes of the game and held a 7-4 lead with just under 16 minutes left in the first half.
The Cougars needed someone to step up and Vanessa Johnson did just that in the first 20 minutes of play.
She began her shooting clinic, knocking down back to back 3-pointers to give USF their first lead of the game. Johnson’s 3-pointer gave the Cougars a 10-9 lead with 14:15 left in the first half. That lead would be their last of the half.
The remaining minutes was similar to a heavy weight fight, UNO would throw a heavy blow and USF would respond with a slug right back.
UNO struck first. With a couple of big 3-pointers from Heather Pohl and impressive layups by Jamie Nash, the Mavericks went on a 9-2 run and claimed a 21-12 lead near the 11 minute mark.
Following a timeout, USF fought back with a 9-2 run of their own, as Laura Johnson connected from deep to pull the Cougars within two points with 6:25 to play in the first half.
The Mavericks went up by as many as 11 points but carried a six point lead into intermission.
USF struggled to find any offense outside of V.Johnson in the first half. Johnson, who finished the half 6-10 from downtown, accounted for 18 of the Cougars 33 points, while UNO had nearly 3 players in double digits.
The Cougars opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 40-39 lead with 16:39 to play, but UNO answered, as USF seemed to have no solution for the Mavericks elusive guard Nash. She continued to drive the lane and make plays, whether it was a layup or a kick out for a 3-pointer. Her play making ability catapulted a 9-2 Maverick run, making for a 48-42 UNO lead with 14 minutes to go.
With a series of big shots from Chrissy Strassburg off the bench, USF had pulled back within one point of UNO. The scoreboard read 49-48 with 9:58 to play.
USF couldn’t buy a 3-pointer in the second half, but they were able to recognize a mismatch in the post and began to take advantage of it. Jamey Hofer scored six straight points in the paint for the Cougars, giving USF a 52-51 lead near the 9 minute mark. It would be their last lead of the game.
The next six minutes were ugly for the Cougars. They made just one of their next eight attempts, while UNO missed one shot attempt and took a commanding 66-55 lead with 2:49 to play.
Hofer hit a big 3-pointer with 2:04 on the clock, cutting USF’s lead to eight, but it was too little, too late. UNO made their free-throws down the stretch and recorded a 74-61 win on the road.
UNO outshot USF 41.7%-39% from the field, but the key stat was the Mavericks’ efficient shooting from beyond the arc, where they converted (7-15) 46.7% of their shots, while USF connected on (10-35) 28.6% of their attempts.
The Mavericks are just the second team this season to shoot above 40% from the field against the Cougars.
USF also loss the battle on the glass, where UNO held a 41-30 advantage.
UNO capitalized on their opportunities at the line today. They finished the game 17-19 at the free throw line, while USF went 5-8 at the stripe.
After a monster first half, V.Johnson was held scoreless in the second half and finished with a team high 18 points. Hofer came on strong for the Cougars in the second half, going 5-6 from the field for 13 points. She finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
The Cougars get right back to action Tuesday night when they host Dakota State University at 6p.m. Courtesy: Dennis Gamble, USF
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Poor shooting and an uncharacteristic lack of intensity from the University of Sioux Falls bench in the second half, resulted in a 74-61 loss to Division I, University of Nebraska Omaha Sunday afternoon in Sioux Falls, S.D.