The Huskers won a tight contest against Duke thanks to sharpshooting from junior Taylor Kissinger who finished the night with 19 points (six three-pointers and a free throw). The Huskers are now 8-1 on the season and owners of non-conference wins against the PAC12 (USC), SEC (Missouri), and ACC (Duke).
Sophomore Ashtyn Verbeek scored 14 points on pefect 5 for 5 shooting. Junior Kate Cain pitched in 12 points (some of them were beautiful fadeaway shots that are impossible to defend) and five blocked shots while senior Hannah Whitish added 10 points, including critical free throws to seal the win down the stretch. Nicea Eliely added nine points and Leigha Brown eight in an all-round effort.
Kate Cain scored the first points of the game a little over a minute in but Duke responded on their next possession. It was a back and forth battle throughout most of the quarter with the Huskers notching three long-range baskets (Haiby, Verbeek, and Kissinger). Especially important is the offensive rebounding by Nebraska.
End of first 21-20 Nebraska
Duke started the quarter on a 5-0 run and opened up a 25-21 lead. The Huskers responded to tie the game. The teams traded three-pointers with Kissinger hitting everything. Huskers up 31-30 with 6:24 left in the quarter. Taylor Kissinger hit her fourth three-pointer to force a Duke timeout with the Huskers up 34-30.
The Huskers extended the lead to 41-33 behind some drives behind Eliely and Brown. Leah Brown is finally drawing some fouls. The teams continued to trade baskets in a defense-optional game. It wasn’t that teams were playing bad defense, but the offenses were both hitting on all cylinders. A Whitish three extended the lead to 10 at 47-37.
Duke fought back to close within 49-45 with 1:21 left in the half after some Husker misses and their inability to continue their torrid offensive rebounding. Duke was trying to use clock and used too much as they committed a shot clock violation. Husker ball with 12 seconds left in the half.
Halftime 49-45 Nebraska
Duke scored first (free throws) and the Husker offense seemed a little discombobulated after the break. Duke was rebounding like crazy and drawing fouls (and turnovers) on the Huskers. Duke was also challenging the three-point line more - hopefully the Huskers adjust and find ways to get to the paint. Duke drew even at 49-49 and then took a lead at 51-49.
Eliely finally broke the scoring drought with a basket at 6:50 left in the quarter. Taylor Kissinger entered the game and promptly hit a three (her fifth!) The Husker defense started to wake up as well and forced a couple turnovers. The Huskers regained a slight lead by the break 54-53.
After the break, Nebraska went stagnant again, on both offense and defense. Both teams were running zone defenses, but Duke was running it better (until they let Kissinger free for her sixth three pointer). Duke’s offense was finding every seam in the Husker zone. Fortunately, the Husker three-point shots continued to go in. Sam Haiby ended the quarter with a jumper and was fouled. She missed the free throw and Isabelle Bourne was fouled on the offensive rebound and went to the line.
Nebraska 65 Duke 62
The Husker offense came out a bit discombobulated again, but as the defense tightened up, the offense started to heat up. The Huskers have had at least three calls where the ball went off a Duke player out of bounds but they got to keep the ball. Huskers up 70-65.
Duke whittled away at the Husker lead and closed within 72-71 midway through the fourth quarter. The Huskers (behind Kate Cain) opened a three point lead (76-73) with 2:16 left in the game. Leigha Brown pulled down a HUGE defensive rebound on a Duke miss with 44 seconds left and a 77-75 Husker lead. She was fouled (and had to be strong to draw the foul rather than the jump ball). She hit both free throws to put Nebraska up by four but the Huskers gave up a really fast basket. 79-77 with 27 seconds left.
My stream cut out, so I missed some of the action, but when it came back Nebraska was up 81-79 with 11 seconds left and the ball.
Duke turnover. Yay!
5.8 seconds left. Husker ball at halfcourt.
Duke fouls before the inbound pass. Whitish to the line. She hit both!!
Huskers up 83-79. Nebraska has two fouls to give so Amy Williams asks her team to foul to slow Duke down and keep them from getting into shooting range. (they had no timeouts and had to go the length of the floor.)
FINAL 83-79 Huskers win!!