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Nebraska WBB 74 Michigan 71 Recap

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The Huskers rally from a 13 point second half deficit behind sizzling long range shooting

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 Big Ten Conference Women’s Tournament - Purdue v Nebraska Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nebraska won 74-71 and improved to 14-4 overall on the season and 4-3 in the Big Ten, while Michigan slipped to 12-6 overall and 3-4 in the conference. The Huskers, who matched their victory total from the 2018-19 season, improved to 11-1 at home.

First Quarter

In a tight contest early, Michigan got their usual pile of offensive rebounds and made the most of them. Nicea Eliely was whistled for two fouls and had to go to the bench. That hurts for the Huskers, especially on the defensive end.

At the under-5 timeout the score was 9-8 in favor of the Huskers.

The Wolverines went on a small scoring run to take their first lead with 3 12 minutes left in the quarter. Michigan’s starting point guard was called for her second foul toward the end of the quarter. The Wolverines earlier lost another starter to a knee injury (she came out of the locker room on crutches).

A buzzer-beating three for Michigan (they are one of the worst teams in the B1G at long-range shots) game the Wolverines a 19-16 lead.

Second Quarter

The Wolverines opened the quarter with another three-pointer. Sam Haiby answered with one of her own. The Wolverines went on another run early in the quarter and got out to a nine point lead. Haiby and Whitish hit back-to-back-to-back threes and the Huskers came back within two points.

Big Kate was whistled for her second foul halfway through the quarter. The score was 30-28 at the under-5 timeout. The Wolverines responded out of the timeout and took a six point lead. Husker turnovers were coming fast and furious along with clanked shots from Nebraska’s leading scorer (season), Leigha Brown.

Halftime - Michigan 34 Nebraska 28

Third and Fourth Quarter

The Wolverines opened the quarter with a splashy three-pointer followed by both teams missing layups. Then Michigan got on track and opened up a 41-28 lead. Nebraska’s scoring drought was reaching the seven minute mark.

Nebraska went on a 12-2 run to close the lead down to three points at 43-40.

Hannah Whitish hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to draw the Huskers within one point going into the fourth quarter.

[Ranchdude called and we had a frozen cattle waterer to deal with...]

Basketball happened. The Huskers, who had been down by as much as 13 reversed their fortunes and went up by as much as seven in the final quarter. It was a nail-biter all the the way to the end, but clutch freethrow shooting preserved the lead.

Overall Thoughts

Freshman Isabelle Bourne continues to show poise and heady play. She is going to be a fun player to watch. It was also good to see Kate Cain get back in the scoring column after two games where she was largely kept in check. She also marched even closer to the Nebraska career blocked shot record with three more today (I believe she is within nine of the record) and [this is not a drill!] she made BOTH free throws. Woooo!

Hannah Whitish has been pouring in the points recently and hit six from long-range this afternoon. She and Sam Haiby kept Nebraska afloat - it is easy to see why Amy Williams elevated Haiby to the starting lineup. With her and Whitish on the floor, it is like having two point guards on the floor - but two points guards that are very complimentary.

Statistics Leaders

Hannah Whitish poured in a season-high 20 points and she got lots of help from long range, including a season-high three three-pointers from fellow senior Nicea Eliely in the second half. Eliely finished with 11 points, while sophomore Sam Haiby added 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc to finish with 18 points. Leigha Brown gave the four Huskers in double figures with 10 points, including five big free throws in the final three minutes to help Nebraska secure the win.

Nebraska finished at 42.9 percent (21-49) shooting for the game, including 12-for-24 from long range against primarily zone defense from the Wolverines. The Huskers came through at the line, knocking down 20-of-24 free throws (.833). The Wolverines out-rebounded the Huskers, 36-29, and won the turnover battle, 9-8, but Nebraska outscored Michigan in points off turnovers, 10-2 in the second half. The Wolverines hit 44.3 percent (27-61) of their shots from the floor, including 8-of-14 threes, but just 9-of-14 free throws.

Kate Cain grabbed six rebounds while Ashtyn Verbeek, Sam Haiby, Leigha Brown and Isabelle Bourne pulled down three apiece.

Next Game

Nebraska returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday night to complete a two-game home stand by battling Purdue. Tip-off between the Huskers and Boilermakers is set for 7 p.m.