The Huskers have now lost four straight after dropping a 57-53 game to #18 Indiana. However, this one gave fans reason to hope as Nebraska started to play gritty, tough basketball again. They reversed their game plan of the previous weeks - the ones in which they got off to a good start only to unravel in the third and fourth quarters. This time, the Huskers went down 18 points early and played their best basketball late with a shot for the win.
The Huskers fall to 15-9 and 5-8 in the Big Ten.
It was an inauspicious start for Nebraska as they missed their first two shots and committed a three second violation (Sam Haiby picked up her dribble and couldn’t find an outlet). Indiana got out to a 10-0 lead and forced Amy Wiliams to use a timeout at 7:42.
The Hoosiers extended the lead out to 12-0 before the Huskers found the basket - nearly five minutes into the game! Kate Cain hit one from near the top of the key (not her usual shot, but we’ll take it). A Haiby three-pointer and Izzy Bourne free throw were the only other points the Huskers could muster in the quarter (shooting 12% compared to Indiana’s 60+%).
Indiana 24 Nebraska 6
The Hoosiers scored the first six points of the second quarter as things went from bad to “how much worse can it get?”
Leigha Brown hit a long three to break the drought. The Huskers were drawing some fouls on the Hoosiers, but were in a 25 point hole at 36-11. At one point all three freshman were in the game and Trinity Brady got the hot offensive hand, scoring five in a row for Nebraska. Then freshman Makenzie Helms got into the action with a basket and was fouled. She hasn’t been on the court much this season, presumably to do with offseason surgery that kept her out of action during the European trip.
The Huskers held even with the Hoosiers to maintain the 18 point deficit at 41-23.
Kate Cain scored the first four points of the quarter to cut the Hoosier lead to 14 before an Indiana trey pushed it back to 17 at 44-27). The Huskers chipped away and cut the lead to 12 (50-38) with three minutes left in the quarter.
Amy Williams put the three freshman on the floor again, along with Mershon and Eliely. The lead was cut to 10 (50-40) until a Hoosier free throw made it 51-40. After missing a couple of short shots (dadgummit), the Huskers held for the final shot (no good) and ended the quarter 51-40.
Sam Haiby nearly had her pass stolen but she recovered and hit the banker to cut the lead to nine at 51-42. A Cain turnaround cut it to seven. The Huskers were also successful in drawing fouls on the Hoosiers.
WHITISH THREE!! YOU BETCHA!! The Hoosiers had to call a timeout with their lead (once 25 points) cut to four points; 51-47.
Two straight offensive fouls for the Huskers didn’t hurt too much as the defense held serve and got the ball back each time. Leigha Brown kisses it off the glass with the shot clock winding down!! 51-49 Indiana.
Whitish blocks a shot! Husker ball. TIE GAME!!!!! 51-51 as the clock ticked under three minutes.
Indiana’s first points of the quarter came at 2:50 (free throws) to regain the lead at 53-51.
The Huskers tie it up at 53. Good defense forced some misses by Indiana, but the Hoosiers kept getting the offensive rebounds. Indiana ball with 1:08 left and 18 seconds on the shot clock.
Izzy Bourne registered the 10th blocked shot for Nebraska. Husker ball. Amy Williams wants a timeout with 56.2 seconds.
Husker turnover (Whitish). 40 seconds left. Indiana ball (30 seconds on their shot clock)
Indiana layup with 33.3 seconds. They lead 55-53 off the ball screen and as the Huskers scrambled to switch.
Amy Williams uses her last timeout to advance the ball. The Huskers have a 30 second shot clock and the game clock has 33 seconds.
Crap. Nicea Eliely called for the charge. 19 seconds left.
The Huskers are going to have to foul. And they do with 18 seconds left. Both free throws were good. Indiana up 57-53.
The Huskers held the Hoosiers to a single field goal in the fourth quarter, but the had dug too deep a hole. Despite tying the game twice, the Huskers couldn’t make ‘the play’ when they needed it.
Kate Cain was the only Husker in double digits with 12 points. She added four rebounds and five blocked shots.
Leigha Brown and Isabelle Bourne contributed seven points apiece. Bourne had seven rebounds and three blocks of her own. Brown added four rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Sam Haiby (along with Bourne) led the Huskers with seven rebounds.
I am hopeful that this performance will shake the Huskers out of their slump. It was encouraging to see the production when the freshman were on the floor. They played well and the future is bright.
The Huskers host Penn State on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 7 p.m. (CT).