The Husker defense was stifling as they shut down Southern in a 73-39 win. Southern is the defending SWAC champions and were picked as the preseason favorite to win the conference again this year.
However, the Huskers came out firing and this one was never really in doubt. Nebraska started fast, jumping to a quick 6-0 lead. Shortly after the first media timeout, Hannah Whitish knocked down a 15-foot jumper near the elbow to become the 33rd Husker in history to reach 1,000 points. The 5-9 senior guard finished with eight points, five rebounds and five assists in a solid all-around effort.
Nebraska’s lead continued to grow, as Whitish buried a pair of threes early in the second quarter to help the Husker margin balloon to 30-14 with 3:48 left in the half, before the Big Red headed to the locker room with a 35-19 edge.
After the half, the Huskers went on a 13-0 run that featured eight straight points including a pair of threes from sophomore Ashtyn Veerbeek. The 6-2 forward from Sioux Center, Iowa finished with 12 points and eight rebounds on the night. Nebraska closed the quarter by outscoring the Jaguars 20-5 to take a 55-24 lead to the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Leigha Brown produced her fifth straight game in double figures to open the season with a game-high 16 points, while adding four rebounds. Fellow sophomore Sam Haiby gave Nebraska three players in double figures with 10 points, four assists and two steals.
Senior forward Grace Mitchell added one of the best nights of her career with nine points and five rebounds off the bench while burying 2-of-3 three-pointers.
Overall, Nebraska knocked down 8-of-20 threes (.400) and hit 27-of-57 field goals (.474) on the night. The Huskers also hit 11-of-17 free throws (.647). The Big Red out-rebounded the Jags, 43-32, and the won the turnover battle, 13-8, while committing just one turnover in the second half. Nineteen of the Huskers’ 27 field goals were assisted.
All 10 Huskers who played in the game scored at least two points and grabbed at least one rebound, while eight Huskers had at least one assist. Trinity Brady and Taylor Kissinger continue to go through the concussion protocol and were unavailable for the game. Freshman Kenzie Helms was also not suited up or on the bench (no explanation was given but Helms missed a big chunk of the offseason due to surgery related to a ‘significant’ injury). This leaves Nebraska very thin for depth at guard, but it should be manageable as long as there are no more injuries.
Nebraska completes its four-game home stand by taking on in-state rival Creighton on Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tip-off with the Bluejays is set for 2 p.m.