New Beginnings: Omaha Women’s Basketball season preview


Jack Hoover

Mariah Murdie at the free-throw line. Photo by Candice Mayfield.

The Omaha women’s basketball team has been mired in mediocrity for the last several seasons.

Last year, the Mavericks finished with a record of 2-14 in conference play and barely made it to the Summit League tournament. In 2018-2019, the team also ended with a record of 2-14, except that time, they finished last in the conference and missed the postseason tournament.

For a team with the talent and potential that Omaha has, these records suggest a massive underachievement. That’s why on April 7, 2020, the university announced that Carrie Banks would be taking over as the new coach.

Previously spending time at Ohio State as an assistant coach, Banks brings a fresh energy to an Omaha team that has been stagnant the last couple of seasons. At Ohio State, Banks also served as recruiting coordinator and demonstrated significant pull in bringing many talented players to play for the Buckeyes.

With the 2019-2020 season fast approaching, the questions will be whether or not Banks’s effect will be felt immediately or not. The pre-season expectations for the Mavericks couldn’t be lower, as Omaha was picked to finish last in the coaches’ poll. While that ranking may not suggest positive things ahead for the Mavericks, there still is plenty to be positive. Perhaps the biggest reason for optimism is the talent present in some of Omaha’s returning players.

Junior Mariah Murdie will be a player to keep an eye on this season for Omaha. Murdie was selected to the Preseason All- Summit League First Team, and rightfully so. Murdie was one of the few bright spots for the team last year, as she averaged 11 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists for the Mavericks.

Murdie was the only Omaha player to average double figures in scoring last season. That is one area that will have to be addressed if Omaha is to have a better season in 2020-2021. The Mavericks were one of the lowest scoring teams in the Summit League last season, often because they did not have a go-to scorer that they could rely on game in and game out. If the Mavericks want to be more successful this season, they will need to find points from more than one source.

Plans for a non conference schedule are still up in the air for the Mavericks. As of writing, no non-conference games have been announced for Omaha. The Summit League schedule will get underway on Jan. 2 when the Mavericks will welcome Oral Roberts at home in the first of a double header against the Golden Eagles.