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Nebraska WBB 71 Minnesota 76 Recap

The Huskers let one slip away

Scott Bruhn

As of today’s polls, the Huskers are receiving votes in both the AP and the coach’s poll. Way to go ladies!

Also exciting news is the addition of early enrollee Kendall Coley. The 6’2” wing is a top 50 recruit and will be eligible to play immediately, but has yet to clear medical protocols and practice with the team. She will be a welcome addition for a short-handed roster.

Issie Bourne is still out with an ankle injury. So is Trinity Brady (Brady has been out since one of the very early games of the season).

First Quarter

Minnesota scored on their opening possession to take the early lead while Nebraska allowed the shot clock to run out on theirs. Fortunately, they were not so lackadaisical on their second possession as Ruby Porter hit a three followed by a Sam Haiby three (6-2 Nebraska). Minnesota hit a three of their own, followed by a Kate Cain turnaround (8-5 Nebraska) at 6:12.

Kate Cain got in a bad spot under the rim and kicked it out to Ashley Scoggin for three (11-5 Huskers). The teams traded baskets and the score was 13-8 at the media timeout. Kate Cain already has two blocked shots and two assists to go with her two points.

The Huskers scored two quick baskets out of the break increase their lead to 17-8. Amy Williams emptied the bench and brought Annika Stewart and Whitney Brown into the game. Neither team could get much going for several minutes until a Minnesota steal and layup at 48 seconds. The Gophers shot a long three with seven seconds left in the quarter. This was a dumb error - they should have waited a few more seconds to prevent the exact sequence that occurred next.

The long rebound came down to Sam Haiby who made a veteran play taking it the other way, not hurrying (knowing she had time), getting the layup and drawing the foul. The free throw was good. Haiby already has 10 points.

Nebraska 20 Minnesota 10

Second Quarter

Minnesota opened the quarter with a much-needed three-pointer (20-13 Neb). Whit Brown answered right away (23-13 Neb). The Nebraska native walk-on is rapidly becoming a favorite player of mine for her enthusiasm and energy.

Sam Haiby drew her second foul - this could be a problem for Nebraska. The Huskers need her on the floor. One Gopher free throw was good (23-14 Neb). The Huskers followed that with another shot clock violation. Trying to control the tempo is biting Nebraska right now. Bella Cravens heated up and scored the next four Husker points. The Gophers heated up from three point land and outscored Nebraska to close the lead to five (27-22 Neb) until Anni Stewart hit a three (30-22 Neb). All seven Huskers have gotten into the scoring column.

I expected a lower-scoring game than this, but it is what it is.

A Scoggin layup (free throw pending) gave Nebraska a 32-24 lead at the media timeout. The free throw was no good but Anni Stewart got the rebound and putback. Some quick points by Minnesota cut the lead to five (34-29 Neb). The teams traded baskets but Minnesota free throws cut the lead to three (36-33 Neb) at the 1:53 mark.

The Husker defense is not showing the same urgency as they have the past few games and are not crashing on rebounds. They will need to change that to take control of this game.

The Gophers tied the game at 39 with eight seconds left but then Scoggin hit a long shot to give Nebraska the lead going into the locker room.

Nebraska 42 Minnesota 39

Haiby and Scoggin are in double digits with 10 and 11 points apiece. Bella Cravens leads with five rebounds and Kate Cain has three blocks. The Huskers are shooting over 50% from the field and from three-point land but are allowing Minnesota too many offensive rebounds, giving the Gophers a 12-6 advantage in second chance points.

Third Quarter

The Huskers came out firing and extended the lead back to nine in short order (51-42 Neb) at the 7:12 mark. Minnesota closed it back down to four (51-47 Neb) until a Cravens free throw (52-47 Neb). At the media timeout, the score is Nebraska 54 Minnesota 47.

The Huskers went on a long scoring drought and Minnesota took the lead at 57-56 at 2:20. The Husker defense is not playing at the same level as they have for the past few games. Minnesota smelled blood in the water and started to press.

A Cravens free throw gave the Huskers the 58-57 lead which was increased by two Haiby free throws (60-57 Neb). The Gophers’ starting center picked up her fourth foul (on Cain). Kate made both free throws (61-59 Neb).

Nebraska 61 Minnesota 59

The Huskers still look too casual in rebounding situations. They need some hustle plays on defense to put some distance between them and the Gophers.

Fourth Quarter

Minnesota has been switching up their defense between zone and man and it is keeping the Husker offense off balance. The first points of the quarter came on Haiby rebound at 8:30 (62-59 Neb). On one offensive possession the Huskers picked up four offensive rebounds which ended in Sam Haiby drawing a foul and hitting both of her free throws (64-59 Neb).

The Gophers have been challenging Kate Cain more in the paint and getting blocked for their efforts. The Gophers coach called her team over to remind them not to do that.

The Huskers have gone six minutes without a field goal and a Gopher three, followed by a layup, tied the game at 64 at 4:54.

The Gophers came out of the break firing and took the 67-64 lead. This game should not be this close, but Nebraska was due for a letdown. Let’s hope they can find the will to pull this one out.

Whit Brown hit a jumper to bring Nebraska within one (67-66 Minn) at 2:40. After some back and forth, Nebraska tied the game at 68 with a minute to go. Minnesota hit a big three pointer to take the lead back (71-68 Minn) with 51 seconds. After a missed shot, Nebraska was forced to foul. The Gophers made both free throws with 26 seconds left (73-68 Minn).

Things did not get better for Nebraska as they missed multiple shots and turned the ball over to Minnesota with six seconds left. A Haiby three with four seconds drew Nebraska within three, but the clock was against them. Two Gopher free throws sealed the game with .6 seconds.

Final - Minnesota 76 Nebraska 71

General Thoughts and Statistics

This was a big time letdown for Nebraska. The Huskers looked tired and sluggish but mostly they didn’t show the same determination that they had shown for the past few games.

Sam Haiby led the Huskers in scoring (25), rebounding (12) and assists (3). Ashley Scoggin was the other Husker in double figures for scoring with 16 points. Kate Cain and Bella Cravens each pulled down eight rebounds. Cain blocked four shots and Cravens blocked two.

Next Game

The Huskers will play Monday, Jan 25 at Illinois. Tipoff will be at 7 pm (central) and the game will be on BTN.

Coach Williams Post-Game Remarks

Sam Haiby Post-Game Remarks