The Husker women are now 4-0 after defeating SIUE 63-49. Nebraska’s best apparent win thus far is an overtime decision against a Missouri team that sits at 1-3. But, as Nebrasketball fans know all too well, wins are better than losses. The Husker women have had to lean on different players and adjust to find ways to win games. Thus far, several players have shown that they can step up and contribute.
Senior Nicea Eliely is on a mission to get some recognition from the conference before her career is over as she has now posted her second consecutive double-double (after never having a single one in her career before this). She led Nebraska with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-1 senior guard added game highs of four steals and two blocks to go along with three assists. She scored eight of Nebraska’s final 10 points over the game’s final 5:15 to secure the 14-point win over the Cougars, who slipped to 1-3.
Sophomores Leigha Brown (12 points) and Ashtyn Veerbeek (10) also scored in double figures, while senior guard Hannah Whitish pitched in eight points, a career-high nine rebounds and a game-high five assists. Whitish is now just two points away from reaching the 1,000 point mark in her Husker career.
Nebraska jumped out to a 19-9 lead in the opening quarter following three consecutive three-pointers by Whitish and Brown in a 57-second span. After an SIUE timeout with 2:26 left, the Cougars scored the final five points of the quarter to trail 19-14 heading to the second.
In a low-scoring, clunky second quarter, the Cougars outscored Nebraska 8-4, as the Huskers went just 1-for-13 from the field, including 0-for-6 from three-point range.
Nebraska still held a 23-22 lead at the half, before Veerbeek took over the game in the first five minutes of the second half. The 6-2 forward from Sioux Center, Iowa, scored eight points, including a pair of threes, to push Nebraska’s lead back to 10 at 36-26 with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
The Huskers built a 44-32 lead at the end of three periods, and grew the lead to 63-47 with 2:08 left in the game on Eliely’s final points of the day.
Nebraska hit 40.7 percent (24-59) of its shots for the game, including 7-of-28 threes (.250), while hitting 8-of-12 free throws (.667). The Husker defense was solid, holding SIUE to just 33.9 percent (20-59) shooting, including just 1-of-13 from three-point range. The Cougars also went 8-for-13 at the foul line. NU won the rebounding battle, 45-32, while SIUE held the edge in turnovers 14-12.
The Huskers continue their four-game home stand on Wednesday when they take on defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.