Husker women’s hoops falls in final minute at No. 19 Northwestern

jkoller@klkntv.com

Huskers Lose Late at No. 19 Northwestern

Evanston, Ill. – Nebraska took No. 19 Northwestern to the brink leading 56-51 with under three minutes left, but the Wildcats scored the game’s final nine points to escape with a 60-56 women’s basketball win over the Huskers at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Leigha Brown led Nebraska with 14 points off the bench, including the Huskers’ final two points on a turnaround jumper with 3:05 left, while Kate Cain added a double-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds, seven blocks and a career-high four steals.

Nebraska slipped to 16-10 overall and 6-9 in the Big Ten, while Northwestern improved to 22-3 overall and 12-2 in the conference with its fifth consecutive victory. Veronica Burton led Northwestern with 21 points, while Jordan Hamilton added 10 points and four assists off the bench for the Wildcats. Abi Scheid added nine points as well for the Cats.

Lindsey Pulliam, the No. 3 scorer in the Big Ten, also played a major role by putting up the final four points for the Wildcats in the game’s final 25 seconds to finish with nine points and 10 rebounds. However, Pulliam scored seven of her nine points at the line and went just 1-for-13 from the field. Her one field goal came with 24.8 seconds left to end an 0-for-12 shooting drought on the day and give the Cats the victory.

Nebraska’s defense was outstanding for four quarters, holding the Cats to just 28.8 percent (19-66) shooting for the game. Northwestern did hit 5-of-16 threes (.313) and 17-of-19 free throws. The Cats out-rebounded Nebraska, 36-34. In the game’s most telling stat, the Cats won the turnover battle, 15-7, and outscored Nebraska 21-9 off those turnovers.

The Huskers hit 43.1 percent (22-51) of their shots from the floor, including 4-of-14 threes (.286) and 8-of-11 free throws.

In an entertaining and evenly played first half, Nebraska took a 33-29 lead to the locker room. The Huskers trailed 16-15 at the end of the first quarter, but closed the period on a 4-0 run in the final minute. Nebraska extended the surge to 9-0 by scoring the first five points of the second quarter to take a 20-16 lead. The Huskers did not relinquish the lead for the rest of the half.

Brown led Nebraska with nine first-half points. Cain powered the Huskers at both ends in the half, producing eight points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the half, while Ashtyn Veerbeek contributed seven points, including the three-pointer that gave Nebraska the lead to open the second quarter.

In the half, the Huskers hit 51.9 percent (14-27) of their shots from the field, including 2-of-5 threes. Nebraska also went 3-for-4 at the line. The Huskers held Northwestern to just 33.3 percent (11-33) from the floor, including 1-for-6 (.167) from long range. The Cats did hit 6-of-8 free throws. Both teams grabbed 17 first-half rebounds, but Northwestern won the first-half turnover battle, 6-3.

Scheid led Northwestern with nine points and five rebounds in the half, while Burton added six points on a pair of traditional three-point plays.

Nebraska extended the biggest lead for either team in the game to nine points at 38-29 after a three-point play with 8:20 left in the third quarter to start the second half on a 5-0 run. Northwestern cut the lead to 44-42 at the end of three quarters before the Huskers pushed the edge back to six at 48-42 to open the third quarter after Cain’s final basket with 8:15 left.

The Wildcats then erupted on a 7-0 spurt in 1:50 to take a brief 49-48 lead on Burton’s three-pointer with 6:07 left. Nebraska then answered with a 6-0 run of its own that started with a free throw from Isabelle Bourne, followed by a bucket from Veerbeek and capped by a three-pointer from Sam Haiby with 3:52 left. Haiby finished with seven points, seven rebounds and two assists.

Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action against Ohio State on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Tip-off against the Buckeyes in Columbus is set for 6 p.m. (CT).

Categories: Husker Sports, Sports