The Nebraska women’s basketball team picked up their 21st win of the season. More importantly, they picked up a win over a ranked opponent in an effort to polish their NCAA tournament resume. The #24 Wolverines were held to 54 points, 20+ below their season average of 76 points.
Nebraska’s defense was on-point most of the night. They were aided by the fact that one of Michigan’s star players, Halley Thome, was hampered by a knee injury. Thome still managed 21 points and played 35 of 40 possible minutes, so....
Kate Cain, 6’5” freshman center, put up six points, seven rebounds, and turned the ball over five times. She also recorded SEVEN blocks, worthy of her status on the All-defense team for the Big Ten. She fouled out with a few minutes to go, but Cain was a force on the court in ways that belied her stats. Any Wolverine guard that attempted to drive the lane found themselves eating leather. Some of the post players did too.
It was not just Cain that played great defense, but her presence set up Husker guards to make great defensive plays. I can remember one tie-up by Jasmine Cincore in particular that was aided by Cain’s presence. It was at the end of the shot clock and one of the Wolverine star players was turning to shoot, hopeful of either a basket, foul, or both on Cain. Instead, she hesitated and Jasmine Cincore reached and got a clean swat that delayed everything long enough for the shot clock violation. Nicea Eliely had a similar play later in the game. Both guards got their blocks/tie-ups as a result of the Michigan player being so focused on Kate Cain.
Complimentary basketball. It works.
Nebraska now faces the Maryland Terrapins in the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals. The Husker women have never beaten Maryland. Ever.
The Huskers have narrowed the margin on the perennial-power Terrapins this season. Nebraska has played their two closest games against Maryland in 2018. Whether they can get over the hump and record the “W” remains to be seen. A win Saturday would almost certainly assure Nebraska of a spot in the NCAA tournament field. This win against Michigan combined with a few other factors, gives the Huskers warm fuzzies regardless.
Leading the Huskers:
Hannah Whitish - 17 pts, 7 rb, 3 ast and 2 steals (10 of her points were in the 4th Q)
Nicea Eliely - 12 pts, 6 rb, 1 ast and 1 blk
Maddie Simon - 9 pts, 3 rb, 3 ast
Kate Cain - 6 pts, 7 rb (all defensive), 7 BLOCKS OMG,
Jasmine Cincore, 9 pts, 6 rb, 5 ast, 3 blk, all-around-wreaker-of-havoc
Have I mentioned that complimentary basketball works? Yes? You are convinced. I rest my case.
Leading the Wolverines:
I didn’t get the stats email in time and don’t really care.
Semi-final Big Ten Tournament Game vs Maryland
The Huskers will take on #2 seed Maryland at ~7:30 pm central on March 3 (Saturday)
We will have a game thread to cheer on the ladies as they fight for a spot in the conference championship game. Go Big Red!