Laudermill Leads Huskers to Comeback Win Over Michigan

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Story Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

Lincoln – No. 15 Nebraska erupted for a season-high 50 second-half points to turn a 14-point first-half deficit into a 15-point women’s basketball win, as the Huskers notched a 75-60 victory over Michigan Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Nebraska improved to 17-4 overall and 7-3 in the Big Ten while producing its 17th straight February win dating back to the 2011-12 season. Michigan slipped to 13-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference.

Senior guard Tear’a Laudermill finished as Nebraska’s leading scorer for the fourth straight game, closing with 19 points, including 13 in the second half. Eleven of Laudermill’s points came in a 2:33 span late in the second half, including three straight threes to finish off the Wolverines.

Senior forward Hailie Sample added 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting day, marking the sixth time this season that Sample has been perfect from the floor in a game. She added seven rebounds, four assists and a steal in a stellar effort.

Junior guard Rachel Theriot added 14 points of her own, including 12 in the second half, while adding six assists and two steals.

Senior forward Emily Cady added a tremendous all-around performance, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, while limiting Michigan star Cyesha Goree to just six points and nine rebounds. Cady’s eight rebounds pushed her to 1,000 in her career, as she became just the fifth Husker and 17th player in Big Ten history to reach 1,000 boards.

Freshman guard Natalie Romeo provided a big lift off the bench for the Big Red with nine points, including seven in the second half, while Michigan native Allie Havers pitched in six points and five big rebounds off the bench in the game for Nebraska.

Nebraska hit 59.4 percent (19-32) of its shots in the second half to finish at 47.7 percent (31-65) for the game, despite going just 4-of-15 (.267) from three-point range. The Huskers were a perfect 9-for-9 at the free throw line, outrebounded Michigan 35-31, and won the turnover battle, 13-8. Nebraska’s eight turnovers marked its second-best total of the season.

Michigan finished at 42.6 percent (23-54) shooting for the game, but went just 11-for-31 (.355) in the second half. One of the Big Ten’s best three-point shooting teams, Michigan finished 35.7 percent (5-14) from long range and went 9-of-12 at the free throw line. The Wolverines were just 2-for-7 from beyond the arc after halftime.

Playing its third game in seven days, the Huskers stumbled out of the gates, falling behind by as many as 14 points midway through the first half to the hot-shooting Wolverines. After trailing 25-11 with 8:21 left in the half, NU held Michigan to just one field goal the rest of the half to cut the margin to 31-25 at the break.

The Big Red brought the energy in the second half, surging to a 39-35 lead less than five minutes into the second half, outscoring the Wolverines 14-4 out of the locker room.

But Michigan answered, rebuilding a six-point margin at 51-45 with 10:13 left on back-to-back threes by Shannon Smith and Siera Thompson. Smith scored 18 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, but she was the only gun firing for the Wolverines after halftime. Thompson’s three was her lone basket of the second half, as she was held to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting for the game. Smith finished with 18 of Michigan’s 29 second-half points.

After the 16-6 surge by Michigan, Nebraska stormed back, scoring 11 straight points to take its biggest lead of the game to that point at 56-51 with 6:07 left. That Husker rally began with back-to-back shots from Brandi Jeffery and Allie Havers before Laudermill tied the game with a pair of free throws in a one-and-one situation. The Big Red got a jumper from Emily Cady and a three-point play by Theriot to completed the 11-0 run and take a five-point lead.

Michigan cut the margin back to one possession on a layup by Smith with 5:58 left to make it 56-53, before Laudermill came up with a steal and found Natalie Romeo on the left side. After a tremendous hesitation move left Nicole Elmblad in the dust at the third block, Romeo scored to give the Big Red a 58-53 lead.

Laudermill came up with another steal just moments later then hit a pair of free throws to push NU’s margin to 60-53. It was the start of 11 straight points for Laudermill, who buried three consecutive threes to put the Wolverines away and extend Nebraska’s lead to 69-56 with 2:46 left.

The Huskers finished the game with a 15-point margin – their largest lead of the game – to complete the 29-point turnaround in the contest.

Michigan opened the game 5-for-5 from the floor, but hit just 7-of-18 the rest of the half, as Nebraska was able to hold the Wolverines to just 11 points in the final 13 minutes of the half. Nine of those came from Katelynn Flaherty, who hit all three of Michigan’s field goals in the final 13 minutes. She did not score in the second half.

The Huskers outscored Michigan 14-6 in the final eight minutes of the first half, including six points from Sample, who led the Big Red with eight first-half points on 4-of-4 shooting. Laudermill added four of her six first-half points during the Husker surge.

NU hit just 35.4 percent (12-33) of its first-half shots, including just 1-of-6 threes and did not get to the free throw line. Nebraska outrebounded Michigan 17-15 in the first half, and won the turnover battle, 5-3. The Huskers also committed only three first-half fouls, but Michigan got four free throws late in the half and hit all four. The Wolverines were whistled for six first-half fouls, but Nebraska did not get to the line.

Michigan hit 12-of-23 (.522) of its first-half shots, including 3-of-7 threes (.429), but the Huskers used seven offensive rebounds to attempt 10 more field goals than the Wolverines in the opening period.

Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action on Thursday when the Huskers travel to Piscataway, N.J., to take on No. 22 Rutgers. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Scarlet Knights is set for 6 p.m. (CT) with live national television coverage provided by the Big Ten Network.