Huskers fall to Gophers in OT

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Posted By: Sports

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Courtesy: NU Media Relations

Lincoln – The Nebraska women’s basketball team took visiting Minnesota to overtime, but the Golden Gophers prevailed in a 79-69 decision over the Huskers on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The Huskers rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit to push the Gophers to the limit, hitting game-tying shots three times in the final 1:35, including a jumper by Jessica Shepard with seven seconds left to send the game to overtime tied at 66.

But the Huskers hit just 1-of-12 shots in the overtime to slip to 5-18 overall and 1-10 in the Big Ten. Minnesota hit 3-of-7 shots and all six free throws in OT to improve to 12-11 on the season and 3-7 in the conference.

Senior Allie Havers tied a career high with 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while adding four rebounds, two assists and two steals in one of the best games of her career.

Shepard added 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Jasmine Cincore gave the Huskers three scorers in double figures with 10 points. She added seven rebounds and a career-high-tying six assists to help the Huskers.

Cincore scored Nebraska’s last two points of the first half and first four points of the third quarter to cap a 16-2 surge that turned a 32-21 deficit into a 37-34 Nebraska lead.

The Huskers took their biggest lead of the game at 41-37 with 6:21 left in the third, before the Gophers responded to take a 52-48 lead to the final period. Nebraska never led in the fourth quarter, but the Huskers hit shots to tie the score on five occasions in the final period.

Carlie Wagner led Minnesota with a game-high 28 points on 12-of-26 shooting including four three-pointers. She added eight rebounds, two assists and three steals. Kenisha Bell added 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Forward Jessie Edwards came off the bench to provide a huge lift for the Gophers with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. She added eight rebounds and a block.

For the Huskers, freshman Hannah Whitish played a solid floor game with eight points and career highs of eight rebounds and seven assists. She also had a block and two steals.

Junior guard Emily Wood pitched in six points on a pair of threes, and got an open look from the right corner in front of Nebraska’s bench with under a second left that just glanced off the back iron and bounded straight into the air. Had Wood’s shot fallen, the Huskers would have been victorious.

For the game, Nebraska hit 37 percent (27-73) of its shots from the field, including just 7-of-27 threes. NU was 8-of-10 at the free throw line. Minnesota hit 42.7 percent of its shots (32-75), including 6-of-19 threes, and 9-of-11 free throws. The Gophers outrebounded the Huskers 46-44, and won the turnover battle 14-12.

In a back-and-forth first half, Nebraska ended on a 12-2 surge to trim a 32-21 Minnesota lead to just one at 34-33 at the half.

Nebraska led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter thanks to six points from Whitish, four from Havers and a buzzer-beating runner that banked in for Cincore.

The Huskers pushed the lead to 16-13 on the opening possession of the second quarter, before the high-powered Minnesota offense caught fire. Wagner hit back-to-back threes to push Minnesota’s lead to 23-18, before a Maddie Simon three for the Huskers trimmed the margin to 23-21 with 7:03 left.

Nebraska ran into adversity moments later when Shepard picked up her second foul with 5:10 left in the half, before Nicea Eliely was called for her second foul with 4:40 left.

Minnesota took full advantage as Edwards, Wagner and Bell combined for nine straight points to give the Gophers their biggest lead of the half at 32-21.

Havers and Shepard stopped the Gopher surge with back-to-back buckets for the Big Red. After an Edwards basket for the Gophers with 1:26 left, Wood and Riley Cascio Jensen hit back-to-back threes before Cincore closed the half with a steal and a pair of free throws in the closing seconds.

For the half, Nebraska hit 42.9 percent (12-28) of its shots, including 5-of-13 threes. The Huskers also hit all four of their free throws. Nebraska was outrebounded 23-17 in the half, including 11-4 on the offensive glass. Minnesota outscored the Huskers 10-4 on second-chance points in the first half. NU also lost the first-half turnover battle, 7-5.

Havers led the Huskers with eight first-half points, while Whitish added six as eight Nebraska players found the scoring column in the opening 20 minutes.

Minnesota hit 39.5 percent (15-38) of its first-half shots, including 3-of-9 threes, but was just 1-for-3 at the free throw line. Wagner led the Gophers with 10 first-half points, while Edwards added eight and Jasmine Brunson seven.

Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action on Thursday when they travel to Wisconsin. Tip-off between the Huskers and Badgers at the Kohl Center in Madison is set for 7 p.m.