FORT WAYNE, Ind. — UNO fell into an early 18-4 deficit and never completely recovered Thursday night in a 51-46 loss to Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne.
Carolyn Blair-Mobley made one of her five 3-pointers, this one with 3:14 left, to get UNO as close as it had been since the opening minutes at 46-41. And the senior hit another 3 with 2:40 left to cut the margin further at 48-44. A basket by Taijhe Kelly with 1:59 left made it a one-possession game at 49-46.
IPFW then had the ball for the next 49 seconds, missing two jump shots, before UNO got the rebound. With the shot clock running down, Kelly missed a mid-range jumper with 39 seconds to go and the Mastodons got a clinching 15-foot jumper from Erin Murphy with 11 seconds left.
UNO (14-7, 4-5 Summit League) dropped into a three-way tie for fourth in the Summit League with Missouri-Kansas City and IPFW (8-13, 4-5).
Blair-Mobley hit 7 of 10 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, to league UNO with 19 points. Jamie Nash scored 11 and Kelly, the 6-foot-4 sophomore, matched her season high of eight points while pulling down a season-best 15 rebounds.
After shooting a school-record 21 of 22 from the free-throw line in Saturday's loss to South Dakota State, UNO hit just 5 of 14 on Thursday.
Amanda Hyde, the Summit's leading scorer, led IPFW with 18 points. Murphy added 16, while Haley Seibert had six points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals.
UNO scoring leader Paige Frauendorfer was held to 2 of 11 shooting and six points, well below her 13.6 average.
The Mavericks scored the final three points of the first half to get within 31-22 and scored four quick points to open the second half and cut the deficit to 31-26, but IPFW recovered and eventually rebuilt the lead to 41-28.
A 3-pointer by Blair-Mobley and a layup by Kelly helped the Mavs close within 42-36 with 10:36 to go, but the Mavs went 0 for 4 with two turnovers in their next six possessions.