Omaha women’s basketball team ready to begin Summit League play under first-year head coach


Jordan McAlpine

Omaha women’s basketball opens up Summit League play at North Dakota State. Through five games, the Mavericks are 1-4. Omaha hasn’t played since Dec. 17. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

After having their past three games canceled or postponed, the Omaha women’s basketball team is eager to return to the court and open up Summit League play with a pair of games at North Dakota State.

The Mavericks have been idle since Dec. 17, when they faced a 69-38 loss at Illinois State. The team has not played a Summit League opponent since March of 2020.

Throughout their five games in 2020-21, Omaha sits at 1-4 overall, with the lone victory occurring at the end of November at Northern Colorado.

Omaha finished 2-14 last season in conference play and at the bottom of the Summit League standings. The Mavericks were picked in that same spot in this year’s preseason poll. At the same time, with first-year Head Coach Carries Banks now at the helm, they’re looking to take a step forward.

Nothing has changed since the start of the season and the goal for her team is simple. Bring energy, effort and consistency on an everyday basis.

“Compete every single day,” Banks said back at her season-opening press conference. “I want them to have a level of toughness in everything they do.”

Banks, who was hired in April, comes to Omaha after spending the previous four seasons at Ohio State as an assistant coach. This will be her first taste of Summit League action.

Omaha was supposed to open conference play last weekend against Oral Roberts, but those games were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. The Mavericks travel to Fargo to take on North Dakota State on Jan. 8 and 9 in what will be the first two of 16 games on their slate.

The Mavericks are currently scheduled to play seven of the next eight weekends, with the Jan. 2 and 3 games against Oral Roberts to be made up somewhere in between.

Although it’s been over three weeks since that Dec. 17 contest, sophomore Ella Ogier led Omaha in scoring last time out with a seven-point performance, while Claire Killian was right behind her with six. Killian also added six rebounds.

In the first five games, Ogier, Killian and Josie Filer led the way in most of the offensive categories. The three have 48, 43 and 44 points respectively. Killian leads the team in three-pointers with eight. She’s also 9-for-15 from the charity stripe and has grabbed 20 rebounds.

Filer has grabbed 22 rebounds, leading the team in that category.

Mariah Murdie, who was named to the Preseason All-Summit League First Team, has added 22 points, though she has only appeared in three of the five games this season.

Murdie finished 2019-20 with 332 points, including 18 double-digit scoring performances and four games with 20 or more. 226 of those points came from conference play. In the three games this season, she’s averaging 7.3 points per game.

The Mavericks are scheduled to open up the home portion of their Summit League schedule on Jan. 15 and 16 against South Dakota State. Both games are set to tipoff at 3 p.m. at Baxter Arena.