SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Summit League) – No. 6 seed Omaha held off No. 3 North Dakota, 84-81, to advance to the semifinals of the Summit League Tournament. The Mavericks used a balanced effort, with five players scoring in double figures, to beat a Fighting Hawks team that had swept them during the regular season.
Kennedi Grant led the way with 18 points for Omaha, with Aaliyah Stanley and Elena Pilakouta each pitching in 14 points. UND’s Kacie Borowicz led all scorers with 36 points on 14-23 shooting from the floor.
It was a tight game early, with the Mavericks heading into the locker room at halftime with a three-point lead.
Omaha was able to control the second half in part due to its efficiency at the free throw line, as the Mavericks went 19-23 from the charity stripe after the break. They opened up a 10-point lead with 58 seconds left in the game on the strength of six straight makes from the free throw line.
The third-seeded Fighting Hawks would, however, fight back.
A Borowicz steal and layup with just under 20 seconds left brought the game to within one possession with the Omaha lead down to three points. This followed a big, momentum-swinging three by Tara Bieniewicz on the previous possession.
The Mavericks move on to play Kansas City in Monday’s second semifinal at 3 p.m. CT.
Borowicz’s steal and layup with 17 seconds left put massive pressure on a Mavericks team that had opened a double-digit lead just moments before. Katie Keitges, however, was able to keep her cool from the free throw with a pair of makes on the following possession to clinch the trip to the semifinals.
Inside the Box Score
- Pilakouta recorded a double-double, adding 12 rebounds to her 14 points.
- Juliet Gordon joined Pilakouta in the double-double club, with 11 points and 10 rebounds in her final Summit League game.
- Each team turned the ball over more than 10 times in a close first half, but were both stingier with the ball after the break, as neither hit the 20 turnover mark for the game.
News & Notes
- Omaha moves on to its second Summit League Tournament semifinal in the past three seasons after its run to the championship game as the No. 8 seed in 2021.
- The Fighting Hawks wrapped up their best season in terms of total wins and conference wins since 2016-17.