The Nebraska women evened up their conference record to 9-9 and pulled their overall record within one game of .500 at 14-15 with a 79-74 win vs Penn State yesterday. Right now, that terrible loss to Wisconsin (on a buzzer-beater three pointer) looms extra large in Nebraska’s postseason chances and conference standings. The Huskers are likely to be either the 6th or 7th seed in the tournament.
Sam Haiby scored 12 of her team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, including a 10-for-10 effort at the free throw line to seal Nebraska’s win. Penn State slipped to 5-13 in the conference and 12-17 overall.
Nebraska built a 14-point lead at 50-36 early in the third quarter before Penn State rallied to tie the game at 57 just one minute into the fourth.
Then Haiby took over.
The 5-9 freshman point guard from Moorhead, Minn., broke the Lady Lions’ press, which was effective in stifling the Huskers for much of the third quarter, for a driving layup. She then stole the Penn State inbounds pass, attacked the basket immediately and was fouled. She made both free throws to put the Big Red back up by two possessions at 61-57 with 8:48 left. Haiby added five rebounds and three assists in an outstanding all-around effort.
Penn State was never able to get closer than two points the rest of the way, in part thanks to big buckets from Taylor Kissinger, including her fourth three-pointer of the game with 3:05 left to put Nebraska up 68-63. Kissinger finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Freshmen Ashtyn Veerbeek, Leigha Brown and Kayla Mershon all contributed eight points, while Veerbeek added a team-high 10 rebounds for the Huskers. Kate Cain also contributed eight points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists and a steal in a solid performance.
Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely each pitched in six points, while Maddie Simon contributed five points for the Big Red.
As a team, Nebraska hit 48.3 percent (28-58) of its shots from the field, including 6-of-14 threes (.429). The Huskers were also a stellar 17-for-20 at the free throw line to earn their fifth Big Ten road win of the year.
The Huskers out-worked Penn State on the glass 39-33, to help overcome a 16-13 deficit in the turnover column.
Penn State answered by hitting 40.6 percent (27-66) of its shots, including 6-of-14 threes. The Lady Lions hit 14-of-19 free throws. Two-time All-Big Ten guard Teniya Page led the Lady Lions with a game-high 22 points, while freshman Lauren Ebo added 12 points and 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double. Kamaria McDaniel gave PSU three players in double figures with 10 points.
Nebraska will head to Indianapolis to compete in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, March 7. NU’s seed, opponent and game time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis will be determined pending the outcomes of Sunday’s games.