The Nebraska women’s basketball team has been a difficult one to get a handle on. They’ve shown some real growth on the offensive side of the ball, but also a great deal of inconsistency. The Huskers are still an incredibly young team, so inconsistency comes with the territory.
This team stood toe-to-toe with a veteran and now-ranked Drake team. They rallied from a double-digit deficit to force overtime at Washington State. They didn’t get their doors blown off at Top-5 Louisville. The didn’t scare the Cardinals, but there will be a lot of teams that lose by much more than 17 to Louisville this season.
That same Husker team also lost to a Creighton team that had only won one game prior to beating Nebraska.
So, when unbeaten Kansas came to town, I was a bit nervous. I also wondered when we’d see this Husker team break through. The breatk through was Wednesday and it came behind rebounding and defense instead of all the firepower Amy Williams has amassed.
It was a also big time growing moment for the Husker freshman.
Taylor Kissinger notched her second career double-double with 11 points and a career-best 11 rebounds. Her effort was part of a 64 rebound effort that tied for the fourth-highest total in school history. Nebraska handed the Jayhawks (6-1) their first loss of the season for the second straight year, while Nebraska improved to 3-5.
Junior guard Hannah Whitish matched Kissinger with a team-high 11 points, including a pair of three-pointers, while contributing three assists.
Freshmen Ashtyn Veerbeek, Sam Haiby, Kayla Mershon and Leigha Brown also played major roles in the win. Veerbeek pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds while adding seven points and a career-high three blocks. Mershon added a career-high seven rebounds while pitching in two points and an assist. Haiby finished with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Brown rounded out the first-year contributors with four points, two boards and a steal.
In the game, all 10 Huskers scored at least one point and grabbed at least one rebound in a true team effort. Junior Nicea Eliely notched a career-high with four blocked shots. Kate Cain added four points, six rebounds and three blocks, while Maddie Simon managed five points and three boards.
The rebounding and blocked shot effort helped Nebraska overcome 22 turnovers and a minus-11 turnover margin against the Jayhawks.
As a team, the Huskers hit 21-of-64 shots from the field (.328), including 6-of-17 (.353) from behind the arc. Nebraska was a season-worst 10-for-18 (.556) at the free throw line.
But Nebraska provided one of its best defensive efforts of the season, holding Kansas to just 25.3 percent (19-75) shooting from the floor, including a dismal 8-for-37 (.216) from three-point range. KU hit just 6-of-11 free throws.
Nebraska continues its three-game home stand on Saturday when the Huskers take on San Jose State. Tip-off is set for Noon (CT).