Having trouble figuring out how UNO is going to replace its three 40-minute-per-night, get-all-the-points, get-all-the-rebounds, get-all-the-assists seniors from last season?
Don’t worry, said junior center Taijhe Kelly.
“We’ve brought in people who are just like them,” Kelly said. “They’re going to be able to do the same job.”
Kelly, a 6-foot-4 junior who led the Summit League in blocked shots last season, is one of just three returning players on the Maverick roster.
UNO also underwent an early-season coaching change, with Brittany Lange replacing Chance Lindley as interim coach when Lindley resigned after two seasons on Oct. 2.
Lange’s first order of business will be finding a way to replicate the production of All-Summit wing Paige Frauendorfer (15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists) and her running mates: forward Carolyn Blair-Mobley (11.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists) and point guard Jamie Nash (9.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists). Nash finished as the school’s all-time leader in assists and steals.
But Lange doesn’t have to start totally from scratch.
Kelly averaged 4.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. Ericka House, who led all Summit reserves last year with 9.0 points per game while making 57 3-pointers, figures to have an expanded role as a senior this season. House, a 5-9 guard, is a preseason second-team All-Summit selection.
“There’s a lot more on my shoulders this year, being a leader,” House said. “It’ll be tough since we lost our coach and some good players, but at the same time, we’re still getting things done.”
The Mavs’ talented group of newcomers includes transfer guards Brianna Bogard (East Tennessee State) and Lanese Bough (junior college), and freshman wing Mikaela Shaw.
“Last year we were fortunate to have quite a bit of experience,” Lange said. “This year, with nine newcomers … we’re excited about their potential growth.”