Denver Defeats Omaha, 85-74 behind Nelson’s 18 Points
Pioneers pick up their first win in Omaha since 1993
Jan. 18, 2018
OMAHA, Neb. – The University of Denver women’s basketball team had to fight hard against Omaha, but the battle was successful as the Pioneers earned their first win in Omaha since 1993, 85-74.
DU moves to 12-8 and 3-2 in the Summit League, meanwhile the Mavericks fall to 8-9 and 0-5 in the Summit.
Five players for the Crimson and Gold scored in double figures, as Madison Nelson led the way with 18. Not far behind was Claire Gritt who scored 15, Briana Johnson with 14, Abi Curtin dropped in a career-high 12 and Jordyn Alt added 10.
Nelson and Alt tied for a team-high nine rebounds, while Johnson handed out six assists to lead the squad. As a whole, DU grabbed 43 rebounds, handed out 19 assists and forced 14 turnovers. The team shot 44.7 percent (34-for-76) from field-goal range, 22.7 percent (5-for-22) from downtown and 70.6 percent (12-for-17) from the charity stripe.
After quickly falling behind 4-0, the Pioneers fired back with a 6-0 run, polished off by a Nelson layup.
The Crimson and Gold built a six-point advantage, 17-11 thanks to an 11-4 run that was started with a Gritt 3 and assisted by Alt.
A trey from Ellie Brecht cut the Denver lead down to three, 19-16, but an Alt lay-in pushed the margin to five.
An Omaha put-back from Courtney Vaccher, had the Mavericks within one to start the second. However, the Pioneers were quick to respond, rebuilding the edge to five with a 6-2 run.
UNO’s Jess Walter connected with a deep two with 7:21 to play in the period getting the Mavericks within three, but Carie Weinman answered on the other end with her first triple of the contest.
Omaha continued to chip at the DU lead cutting it to two points, 34-32 with less than two and a half minutes to play in the second. The Mavericks then tied the contest at 34 with a minute to play, but Grace White put the Pioneers back up with a layup.
A deep 3 from Samantha Romanowski looked to put Denver up by three with just 18 seconds left, however, a buzzer-beater from the Mavericks’ Amber Vidal had the home team within one at the half, 39-38.
At halftime, the Pioneers’ Alt, Curtin and Johnson each had six points to guide the Pioneers. Curtin shot the best, as the Sydney, Australia native went 75 percent (3-for-4) from the field.
As a unit, Denver shot 47.4 percent (18-for-38) from field-goal range and 21.4 percent (3-for-14) from behind the arc. The squad also grabbed 18 rebounds, passed out 13 assists and racked up six blocks.
Omaha retook the advantage, 40-39 to start the third thanks to a bucket from Emily Dewey. DU responded with five unanswered points, including a Gritt three.
Kalen Phillips scored four straight points for the Mavericks with six minutes left in the quarter, putting UNO up by two, 47-45. Vidal added to the lead for Omaha with two more on the next possession thanks to an assist from Romekia Wallace.
The Pioneers retaliated with a three from Gritt, trimming the margin to one, 51-50.
Back-to-back 3s from Brecht and Petersen gave the Mavericks their biggest edge of the game at five points with about two minutes to play in the quarter.
With 30 seconds left in the third, a Romanowski breakaway layup tied the game at 59, a score that held until the end of the period.
A floater from Johnson gave Denver the advantage, 61-59 to start the fourth. The Pioneers added to the lead on the next possession, as Nelson scored on a put-back.
DU pushed the edge to five, 67-62 with a 6-2 run, four of which were dropped in from Nelson.
Vaccher scored four points for Omaha during a run of six unanswered points, putting the Mavericks back up by one.
Denver and UNO continued to trade blows in the fourth, as each team retook the advantage.
Finally, after a successful trip to the charity stripe from Nelson, the Crimson and Gold finished strong with a 13-2 run over the final five minutes.
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In 2017-18, the University of Denver is holding an alumni giving challenge in an effort to increase student-athlete alumni participation in the Denver Athletics Annual Fund. The sport program with the highest percentage of alumni participation will receive an additional $10,000 of support through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Former student-athletes can make a gift online, by calling 303-871-2388 during normal business hours or by sending a check to:
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