I have a feeling we are not going to see many Husker women’s basketball players honored as “players of the week” in the Big Ten. And I’m okay with that.
This Husker team is extremely balanced in their scoring and big play ability. While any one player is capable of scoring 30 points some night, they usually won’t have to. This Husker team doesn’t provide opponents with any one player to focus on. Instead, opposing coaches have to emphasize that their team stays sound defensively all around (or does something crazy like make 14 three-pointers ala Creighton).
Last night, the Husker women showed that balance as they beat USC 67-54 in the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas.
The most amazing stat of the game?
The Husker women held the Trojans to ZERO field goals and just TWO points in the fourth quarter (free throws). With seven minutes left in the game, the score was 56-54 in favor of the Huskers and USC would not find the net again while the Huskers scored 11 more.
You think Amy Williams is happy with her team’s defense right now?
Yeah, me too.
Sophomore Leigha Brown led the Huskers with 16 points. Senior Nicea Eliely contributed 12 points, including 10 in the first half, while junior center Kate Cain contributed 10 points, five rebounds and the 200th blocked shot of her career to help the Huskers outlast the Trojans.
Senior guard Hannah Whitish also made several big plays down the stretch for the Big Red. Whitish led the Huskers in down the floor and knocked down a short jumper to give NU a 58-54 lead. Whitish then came up with a key defensive rebound on USC’s next possession. Coming the other way, Nebraska fed the ball inside to freshman forward Isabelle Bourne, who turned it over in a hard double-team by the Trojans. USC was headed the other direction with Bourne on the floor, but Whitish came up with a steal at halfcourt.
Whitish quickly transitioned with Bourne out front and fed the young post from Australia for a layup to put the Big Red up 60-54. Bourne matched career highs on the night with eight points and six rebounds, while adding two assists and a steal.
Seconds later, following a timeout and a Nebraska stop, Whitish buried a three-pointer with four minutes left to give the Huskers their biggest lead of the night at 63-54. Whitish finished with seven points and five assists, while moving ahead of two-time WNBA All-Star and fellow Wisconsin native Anna DeForge at No. 8 on the Husker career assist list with 393.
Buckets by Taylor Kissinger, who finished with eight points, and Cain closed out the win for Nebraska.
A fourth-quarter key came on the glass for Nebraska, which held the Trojans without an offensive rebound in the final period after USC pulled down 14 offensive boards in the first three periods. Sophomore Ashtyn Veerbeek played a key role in that category, grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds, including eight on the defensive end, while adding five points on the night.
Nebraska finished the night at 46 percent (29-63) from the field, including 27.8 percent (5-18) from three-point range. NU held USC to just 32.8 percent (22-67) shooting for the game, including 25.9 percent (7-27) from three-point range. The Huskers, who led 39-31 at the half, saw the Trojans bury four threes in the third quarter to tie the score at 52 after 30 minutes, but USC went 0-for-6 from long range in the fourth quarter.
Next Game Is Tonight!
Nebraska will close its two-game stay in Las Vegas by battling Sacred Heart on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (CT) at South Point Arena. The Pioneers produced a 66-60 win over Detroit Mercy in Friday’s first game of the South Point Shootout to improve to 3-3 on the season. Sacred Heart advanced to the 2019 Postseason WNIT last season out of the Northeast Conference.
Free live video and Husker Sports Network audio will be available through links on the women’s basketball schedule page on Huskers.com.