Illinois goes on late 20-point run to defeat Nebraska women
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Sam Haiby scored nine of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter Thursday night, but it was not enough.
Illinois made a 20-0 run in the second half to defeat Nebraska women’s basketball 72-64 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Haiby also had eight rebounds and four assists, while Alexis Markowski added her 12th double-double of the season, and her fourth straight, with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Jaz Shelley contributed 12 points and eight boards, while Isabelle Bourne pitched in 11 points and five rebounds, but Nebraska slipped to 14-10 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten.
Makira Cook led Illinois (19-6, 9-5 Big Ten) with a game-high 22 points and four assists, while Kendall Bostic produced a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Adalia McKenzie added 16 points and seven boards, while Jayla Oden stepped up off the bench with 12 points and six rebounds after starter Genesis Bryant suffered a left foot injury midway through the first half.
Nebraska worked its way to a 37-29 halftime lead behind big efforts inside from Markowski and Bourne.
Markowski led the Big Red with 12 points and nine rebounds in the first half, while Bourne added 11 points, two boards and two steals.
Bourne and Markowski combined for a trio of threes while also putting Illini starting posts Bostic and Brynn Shoup-Hill in foul trouble.
The Huskers hit 44.4% (12-27) of their first-half shots, including four of 11 3-pointers. The Big Red also outscored the Illini 9-2 at the free-throw line, while winning the battle of the boards 22-16.
Markowski (5-7) and Bourne (4-6) were a combined 9-for-13 from the floor in the half.
Illinois stayed within striking distance by winning the turnover war six to three and outscoring Nebraska 8-1 in points off turnovers.
But the Huskers held Illinois to just 13-for-35 shooting, including just one of seven 3s. Cook led Illinois with 12 first-half points, including 10 in the second quarter, while Bostic and McKenzie each pitched in 6 points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Huskers went back to work inside in the second half by getting their first 2 points from Markowski, after Illinois opened the half with 4 straight points.
But it was the lone field goal of the half for Nebraska’s inside duo of Markowski and Bourne, who combined to go 1-for-12 against the Illini defense after halftime.
After the teams exchanged free throws, Maddie Krull knocked down Nebraska’s only 3-pointer of the second half to push Nebraska’s lead to 43-34.
Minutes later, Shelley scored 4 straight points to give NU its largest lead of the half, 47-36, with just over four minutes left.
Nebraska got just one field goal the rest of the quarter – a layup from Krull – before Illinois closed it with an 8-0 run that included 5 straight from Bostic and a 3-point play from Oden.
The Huskers headed to the fourth quarter with a 51-49 lead.
Oden then scored 7 of the Illini’s first 12 points of the fourth quarter to cap a 20-0 run and claim a 61-51 lead with 5:15 left.
Illinois claimed its biggest margin at 68-57 on a Jada Peebles 4-point with just over three minutes left, but the Huskers quickly cut the lead to 68-64 on a Haiby layup with 1:34 left.
Nebraska did nearly all of its scoring at the line in the fourth quarter, as Haiby (7), Shelley (2) and Krull (2) combined for 11-of-12 free-throw shooting in the final five minutes.
Haiby’s layup was NU’s lone field goal of the quarter.
Nebraska hit just five of 25 shots from the field in the second half, including one of 10 3-pointers, to close the game at 32.7% from the field overall and 5-of-21 from long range.
The Huskers did knock down 25 of 34 free throws, including 16 of 21 in the second half.
Nebraska outworked Illinois on the boards 41-37 but lost the turnover battle 14-9.
Illinois sizzled in the second half, hitting 16 of 31 shots to finish at 43.9% for the game.
The Illini connected on three of 10 second-half 3-pointers to finish at 23.5% for the game, and they went 10-for-11 at the free-throw line in the contest.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action at No. 13 Michigan on Sunday. Tipoff between the Huskers and Wolverines is set for noon.