Dec. 9, 2011
Martin and Bearcats return for homecoming
By David Boyce
Whenever Northwest Missouri State senior guard Shelly Martin plays at Nebraska-Omaha warm feelings swell in her.
Martin grew up in Omaha. She played high school basketball tournament games in the UNO gymnasium. Every season in her career as a Bearcat, Martin has returned home to play a college game.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, Martin will be playing her last college game in Nebraska. She wants it to be memorable.
“I love that gym,” Martin said. “I love playing there. I am very familiar with it. I hope we will play pretty well there.”
Freshman Ashleigh Nelson is also excited about the game. Last year she played at Millard West High School in Omaha.
“I’ve played with some of the girls at UNO,” Nelson said. “It will be fun to play against them. It might be a home court advantage for us because of all the players from Omaha.
“It is going to be a lot of fun. There will definitely be a big crowd for us because a lot of our team is from Omaha.”
Seven of the 14 players on Northwest roster are from Nebraska.
“We will be ready for it. Our Omaha kids will be ready,” Northwest coach Gene Steinmeyer said. “That is why I scheduled the game. It will probably be the last time they will play in Omaha.”
UNO is in the transition period of moving from Division II to Division I, which makes it less likely that the two schools will play on a consistent basis in the future.
As nice as it is for so many Bearcats to play a game in their native state, their main concern is picking up a victory.
Northwest has dropped its last four games and currently stands at 2-7.
“This is a huge game for us,” Martin said. “We have to go in with confidence. We have to have a win. It is very important to us.”
Steinmeyer echoed those words.
“We got to start winning. It has to turn around,” Steinmeyer said. “I want to see more balanced scoring. I want a win. It’s pretty simple. The team needs a win.”
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