Sophomore guard/forward Taylor Kissinger set a school record by connecting on all six of her three-point attempts on her way to a team-high 22 points in Nebraska’s 87-64 win over University of South Carolina Upstate yesterday. In an uncommon morning tipoff, the Huskers showed no signs of sluggishness as they started well and kept the pressure on the Trojans throughout the game.
Fellow sophomore Kate Cain finished with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Senior forward Maddie Simon gave the Huskers three players in double figures with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and a 4-for-4 effort at the free throw line.
As a team, Nebraska shot a solid 53.1 percent (34-64) from the field, including 11-of-24 from three-point range (.458). The Big Red was also 8-of-10 at the free throw line. So far, this team has shown SIGNIFICANT improvement from the charity stripe over last season’s dismal effort (64% in 2017-18 compared to 78% so far this season.) The Huskers controlled the glass 42-27. Given the significant height advantage held by Nebraska, one would hope they out-rebounded the small, but athletic Spartans.
Kissinger got going early for Nebraska by knocking down all three of her first-quarter three-point attempts to propel the Huskers to a 26-12 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes.
USC Upstate rallied to cut the margin to eight points at 41-33 with 1:30 left in the half. USC Upstate’s Brianna Lewis scored 10 of her 12 first-half points in the second quarter to keep the Spartans within striking distance before the Huskers took a 43-33 lead to halftime.
Kissinger and the Huskers pushed the lead to 19 points at 67-48 at the end of three quarters, as she connected on both of her three-point attempts in the period. She did not attempt a shot from long range in the fourth quarter to become the first Husker in history to hit all six of her three-point attempts in a game. The only other Husker in history to hit as many as five threes in a game without a miss was Jessica Periago at Indiana on Dec. 5, 2010.
Nebraska got its 11th three of the game on the second triple of the day from senior guard Kristian Hudson to end the scoring in the closing minute. The final 23-point margin was Nebraska’s largest lead of the contest.
Hudson, who made her first start as a Husker in place of junior guard Hannah Whitish, finished with six points and three assists. Whitish had her streak of 50 straight starts come to an end. She missed significant practice time while nursing a minor leg injury that occurred in Nebraska’s season-opening loss to Drake. Whitish did not score Sunday, but did dish out four assists.
Junior Nicea Eliely pitched in eight points and team highs with six rebounds and six assists, while freshman Leigha Brown contributed seven points and four boards off the bench. Junior Grace Mitchell added six points and six rebounds, while freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek also contributed six points. Freshman Sam Haiby managed four points and five assists, while freshman Kayla Mershon completed the scoring for the Big Red with two points.
The five newcomers to the Husker roster have all come up big in this young season. Hudson, a graduate transfer, has started both games
USC Upstate junior Brianna Lewis led all scorers with 26 points, while adding six assists. DeNisha Swain added 11 points, while Natalia Panufnik gave the Spartans three players in double figures with 10 points. As a team, Upstate hit 23-of-60 shots (.383), including 6-of-22 threes (.273) while connecting on 12-of-13 free throws. The Spartans also won the turnover battle by a narrow 15-14 margin.
Nebraska opens a five-game road trip on Friday by traveling to Washington State. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. (CT) with live audio at Huskers.com and the Husker Sports Network and a live video stream provided by Washington State. (Jill’s note: I’ll try to find that link and include it in the game thread.)