I missed the first half, so I don’t have a recap for that portion of the game. When I tuned in, I was shocked to hear that Nebraska and Morgan State were tied at 30. Morgan State was disruptive defensively and caused Nebraska’s offense fits. They kept Sam Haiby and Hannah Whitish in check early.
Starting the second half were Leigha Brown, Hannah Whitish, Nicea Eliely, Izzy Bourne and Ashtyn Verbeek. It continued to be a tussle with Nebraska managing to claw out a four point lead a couple minutes into the third quarter.
The Huskers did not make a single three pointer through most of the third quarter. At this point in the game, they have attempted 33 free throws (made 26) and Morgan State has not even shot a single free throw.
End of third quarter - Huskers 52 Morgan State 48
Eliely is everywhere right now. She is the team’s leading rebounder (12) and is active defensively (3 blocks and a steal) as well as scoring in double figures (10).
The Huskers are starting to feel it as they open up an eight point lead and force a timeout three minutes into the final quarter. Morgan State finally got their first free throw attempts after the next offensive possession.
At 5:27 left in the fourth quarter, Sam Haiby hit Nebraska’s first three-pointer and the Huskers opened up a 9 point lead. A Cain jumper gave the Huskers their first double-digit lead (assisted by Verbeek).
Now the points are coming in waves as the size advantage of Nebraska is especially paying dividends with Cain and Verbeek owning the paint.
The baskets are falling for every Husker and they have now opened up a 19 point lead with 2:50 left in the game. Senior Grace Mitchell has scored the last five points for Nebraska.
Nebraska continues to score at will and at the horn, the final score is Nebraska 78 Morgan State 55
The Huskers were clinging to a two-point lead with a little over eight minutes to go in the game and went on to win by 23. This Morgan State team did a great job on defense and in making Nebraska’s shooters uncomfortable. Hannah Whitish did not score a single point.
Four Huskers scored in double figures with Leigha Brown at 16, Ashtyn Verbeek and Kate Cain at 13 and Nicea Eliely at 12 (to go with her team-leading 16 rebounds!).
Trinity Brady and Taylor Kissinger were both unavailable as they are still in the concussion protocol. It seems unlikely we will see either of them this weekend. This leaves Nebraska a bit thin at the guard position if foul trouble crops up.
In REALLY good news, the Husker women shot 80% from the free throw line. Nebraska also shot 46% from the field while holding Morgan State to 32% shooting.
The Huskers were cold from three point land, only making two of 13.
Kate Cain notched four blocked shots in her march to obliterate the career blocks record at Nebraska.
The most important stat is in the win-loss column and this Husker team is currently 3-0. This year’s non-conference schedule is much more forgiving than the very difficult one dialed up last season, which helps. It also helps that this team is another year older and is developing their identity early.
That identity? With the offensive firepower the sophomores bring, the pressure is off Hannah Whitish to be the point guard and to also be the scorer. This team appears to be much-improved on defense (especially Verbeek and Haiby and even Whitish) to compliment Cain and Eliely’s stingy ways. The Huskers have slasher guards who will take advantage of any crease and drive (Brown and Haiby). At the same time every player on the team, sans Cain, is a threat from behind the three-point line.
This is a team that can put both offense and defense on the floor at the same time. Last season, Amy Williams was often in the position of having to choose one or the other.
The next game for Nebraska will be on Sunday with a 2 pm tipoff vs SIUE. The Huskers will honor past players and the 2009-10 team that went undefeated in the regular season.