Q&A: UNO’s women’s hoops Coach Brittany Lange
April 23rd, 2014
Omaha, NE — Brittany Lange led the University of Nebraska at Omaha women’s basketball team to a 12-16 record during her first season as head coach last year. After finishing the season winning three of their last five games the Mavericks are ready for a strong 2014.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/lange-web.mp3]
KVNO: Coach, thanks for joining me.
Brittany Lange: Thank you very much for having me.
KVNO: What was your first season as head coach like? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Lange: I’ve had a few conversations with a few mentors and our coaching staff about this topic. Asking how the season went is a complex answer. When you are in the midst of it you are just trying to survive in a sense, pull everybody together, teach them the things and lay the foundation of a program and in the midst of it all, win some games. Reflecting on it I don’t think you can chalk up the season to anything less than it being a success for us.
KVNO: What was the discussion like from Trev Alberts and the athletic administration when you were named ‘interim’ head coach last year?
Lange: It was ‘Brittany, I have faith in you to lead this program, the girls need you right now, they need us right now.’ It was just take each day one at a time. That is what you have to do to create a good environment and to have success in a program. Because it is a very long season and if we would have been worried about the results rather than taking it day-by-day I don’t think we would have ended up as positively as we did.
KVNO: After having the interim tag removed, are you more confident heading into year two?
Lange: Oh yea! I am a big preparation person. I think getting notified as close to the start date as you can, anyone would feel off-balance to start. Confident people are prepared people and that is something we have done right now. I can’t tell you how excited I am to know that we have a plan in place and very clearly defined philosophies and hopefully we can execute that.
KVNO: Talk specifically about Taijhe Kelly and Mikaela Shaw. How significant are they to next year’s success?
Lange: Mikaela and Taijhe are going to be a very good compliment for each other. Mikaela allows us to stretch the defense away from Taijhe inside and Taijhe has gotten more confident in her face-up game and in the end of the year she was averaging about 15 points per game.
KVNO: Thanks coach for joining me, is there anything else you want to add before we go?
Lange: I’m good thank you.
Keys to Maverick success in 2014-2015
- Three Point shooting.
The Mavs had the third best defense in the Summit League in terms of points allowed per game (66.4) and field goal defense (38.7 percent) but UNO only scored 68.3 points per game — good for 7th place.
UNO shot only 30% as a team from beyond the arc last season. Coach Lange said the coaching staff had an emphasis on three point shooting when recruiting.
It appears to have paid off with Remy Davenport, an incoming freshman guard from Blue Springs, Mo., (Blue Springs South) who set a school record with 60 3-pointers made in a season last year. She also tied the school record with six 3-pointers in a game. Annie Penquite, also a true freshman guard, from Des Moines, Iowa (Southeast Polk) joins the Mavs after she made 39 three point field goals and shot 34.5 percent from beyond the three point arc.
If that was not enough, UNO added Bobbi Beckwith, a transfer from Indiana State. Beckwith, who played junior college ball at Iowa Western, is known for her knack with the three point shot.
- Staying Healthy.
UNO’s backcourt felt the pain last year. Guards Cathleen Cox and Brianna Bogard both went down to torn knee ligaments early in the non-conference season. This forced the Mavs to rely on freshman Mikaela Shaw and Madi Robson. Robson scored in double figures six times and Shaw was a solid replacement but the depth the Mavs missed out on hurt them down the stretch, according to Coach Lange.
- Taijhe Kelly, senior center.
The reigning Defensive player of the year in the Summit League, also shot at a 57.4 percent rate from the field to go with 9.8 points per game (21st in the Summit League), 6.9 rebounds per game (third in Summit) and 3.5 blocks per game (first in Summit).
- Mikaela Shaw, sophomore guard
Shaw was named to the all-newcomer team in the Summit League for 2013-2014. She averaged 10.4 ppg and shot 47.5 percent from the field. Shaw only seemed to get better as the year progressed, scoring a career high 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting, in the final game at home last year.
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