Kelly Sparks Mavs to 63-55 Win Over Western Illinois on 'Pink Night'

OMAHA, Neb. - Paige Frauendorfer had a game-high 23 points, and Taijhe Kelly had 10 points, 13 rebounds and tied the school record with seven blocked shots, and the UNO women's basketball team beat Western Illinois, 63-55, Thursday night at the Sapp Fieldhouse before 402 fans on "Pink Night."

The Mavericks improved to 16-7 overall and 6-5 in Summit League play while avenging a 27-point loss to the Leathernecks - their worst of the season - back on Jan. 12 in Macomb. Western Illinois dropped to 10-13 overall and 3-7 in league play.

Kelly's double-double was her second straight and she is averaging 13.3 rebounds over her last three games. Her seven blocked shots matched the school record held by Laura Anderson (1985) and Ashley Nelson (2010).

Frauendorfer went 10-of-11 from the free throw line to account for nearly half of her 23 points. She hit her only 3-point attempt of the night and finished 6-of-17 overall from the field. Ericka House added 14 points and four rebounds, and Carolyn Blair-Mobley had 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

The Mavs posted a 13-6 advantage in offensive rebounding and turned that into an 11-0 edge in second-chance points.

UNO led by 12 with 16:58 remaining after a layup by Kelly made it 39-27. But Western Illinois whittled the lead down to five, 39-34, by the 13:58 mark courtesy of a 7-0 run. After UNO rebuilt a nine-point lead at 43-34 with 12:39 to play, the Leathernecks used a 15-6 run to tie the game at 49-49 with 5:26 left on a 3-pointer by Saule Kontautaite.

Frauendorfer gave the Mavs a brief 51-49 lead with two free throws, but Jackie Rieger answered with two of her own to tie the game again with 4:43 left.

But that's when House sparked the Mavs with seven straight points for UNO. After House missed on the Mavs' next possession, Kelly came up with an offensive board that resulted in House scoring in the paint to make it 53-51 with 4:10 left. WIU got a free throw from Ashley Luke to draw within one, but House hit two free throws with 2:55 to play to make it 55-52, then she drilled a trey after another Maverick offensive rebound, and UNO had some breathing room, ahead 58-52 with 1:50 to go. Frauendorfer added to the lead with an old-fashioned three-point play, making it 61-52 with 1:00 left.

The Mavs got off to a much better start than they did the first time they met the Leathernecks this season, when WIU jumped out to 25-10 lead. This time around, UNO jumped out to a 19-9 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers by Frauendorfer and Nash. Western Illinois fought back to within three, 23-20, at the 3:59 mark, as the Mavs made just two field goals in a stretch of 8:28. But Omaha went on an 8-0 run with baskets from Frauendorfer, House, Kelly and Blair-Mobley in a span of 1:48 to regain a 31-20 lead. The Leathernecks scored five points in the final 38 seconds of the half to draw within 31-25 at the break.

Omaha shot 37.1 percent (23-of-62), while Western Illinois shot 34.0 percent (18-of-53). The Mavs committed just 12 turnovers, matching their lowest output in conference play.

The Mavs are back at home on Saturday to host IUPUI at 1 p.m.

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