Starting lineups:#Huskers (7-0)— Steve Marik (@Steve_Marik) December 1, 2021
Ashley Scoggin (5-7)
Jaz Shelley (5-9)
Sam Haiby (5-9)
Issie Bourne (6-2)
Bella Cravens (6-3)
Wake Forest (7-0)
Elise Williams (5-9)
Jewel Spear (5-10)
Niyah Becker (6-2)
Olivia Summiel (6-2)
Christina Morra (6-2)
Wake scored first but Jaz Shelley answered with a three and, as she usually does, followed it with another on the next possession. Bella Cravens showed great hustle in running the floor and scored a layup, followed by (what else?) a Shelley three. After three minutes of play, the Huskers led 11-5. Wake Forest is an incredibly good team in defending threes, so that makes Jaz’s performance thus far even more impressive.
Ashley Scoggin picked up her second foul and was replaced by Ruby Porter. Wake scored four straight points to pull within two at 11-9 Nebraska. Amy Williams started making a lot of substitutions and trusted freshman Allison Weidner to run point. Kendall Coley hit a deep three and Nebraska led 19-13 with one minute left. Sam Haiby picked up her second foul and the two free throws ended the scoring for the quarter.
Nebraska 19 Wake Forest 15
Whitney Brown took a charge to start the quarter and MiCole Cayton cashed in the possession with a three pointer. She followed it with a steal that Annika Stewart cashed in for a three-point play (Huskers 25-15). With two starters in foul trouble, Nebraska’s depth is needed. Cayton put in another three (she is directly responsible for Nebraska’s last nine points). Cayton then made a layup - she is normally on the court because of her defensive abilities, but she is feeling it on offense tonight and has eight points herself. Shelley took another charge and the Huskers lead 30-19.
Shelley needed to be bandaged up after a cut on her chin resulted in blood on the floor. Bella Cravens was called for her second foul - this one was on the offensive side of the court. Both teams traded baskets for a couple of possessions, including MiCole Cayton becoming the second Husker to double digits (10 points is tied for her Huskers career high so far). The Huskers lead 34-23 going into the media timeout.
Jaz Shelley made two free throws out of the timeout to extend the lead to 36-23. Wake then scored four straight to cut the lead to eight (36-28) before Cayton achieved her Husker career high with a drive to the rim (38-28 Nebraska). Kendall Coley was tired of Shelley and Cayton hoarding the points and decided to make another three pointer (41-28 Nebraska). Anni Stewart blocked a shot. Allison Weidner drove the lane too to give Nebraska their biggest lead (43-18 Huskers) with less than a minute in the half. The Demon Deacons scored a layup as time expired.
Nebraska 43 Wake Forest 30
The Huskers are shooting 51.6% from the field. The most three pointers Wake has allowed in a game has been seven (they allow 18% shooting from long range) and Nebraska has that in one half out of 18 attempts (with Ashley Scoggin on the bench). The Deamon Deacons are 1-14 from the three point line. The most points Wake Forest has allowed all season is 55 and Nebraska has 43 in the first half. The Huskers are dictating terms to the Demon Deacons right now - partially thanks to their depth.
The Huskers have only committed six turnovers thus far (a massive improvement over the past weekend) and have 26 bench points. Jaz Shelley has 13 points (six rebounds and five assists - potentially another triple double?).
Sam Haiby picked up her third foul within seconds of starting the half and has no points so far (Issie Bourne has yet to score as well). Williams trusted Haiby to stay in the game in foul trouble. Last season, Nebraska leaned on Bourne and Haiby so much that it would have been a disaster if this game happened then. As soon as I typed this, Bourne got her first basket. Nebraska led 47-36 two minutes into the half and then two free throws by Weidner extended the lead to 49-36 - and then 52-36 when Issie Bourne picked up her second basket and then a free throw one possession later.
Shelley owned the first quarter. Cayton owned the second quarter. It appears Issie Bourne owns the third. Another basket for the sophomore Aussie (54-36 Nebraska) brings her total to seven. Nebraska committed their fifth team foul with over three and a half minutes left in the quarter. Sam Haiby finaly got on the board with about two minutes left in the quarter (58-42 Nebraska). The lead reached 18 (60-42) before the Demon Deacons answered with a basket with a little more than a minute to go. Kendall Moriarty grabbed a steal after a questionable out-of-bounds call gave the ball to Wake Forest.
Nebraska 62 Wake Forest 44
The Deacons scored first but Jaz Shelley grabbed another three, followed by an Anni Stewart basket and Nebraska led by 19 after two minutes. They kept that margin steady for another two minutes. Wake Forest players look really tired. The depth of Nebraska is really shining right now as the Huskers have plenty of energy. At the six minute mark, the Huskers pushed their lead over 20 (71-50 Nebraska) with a Scoggins jumper.
Out of the timeout, Wake drew a foul and made two free throws, followed by a Husker shot clock violation.
I DID NOT see this game coming. I was pretty sure that this would be a defensive rock fight decided by a few points. Instead, Nebraska has dominated a very good Wake Forest team.
At three minutes, the score is 78-52 Nebraska.
At two minutes, the score is 84-58 Nebraska.
At one minute, the score is 86-60 Nebraska.
Final. Nebraska 86 Wake Forest 60
Post Game Thoughts
I admit it. I was fully prepared for the Huskers to lose this game. I loved the young talent thus far. I loved watching a level of offensive output that hasn’t been seen at Nebraska in a while. But I dismissed it as the product of a weak schedule.
That weak schedule has created a monster. The youngsters on this team have confidence as they start to ramp up the level of difficulty and everyone on this squad is figuring out what they are capable of together.
Amy Williams has depth to wear down other teams. In 2020-21, Nebraska needed Sam Haiby and Issie Bourne to produce points or else hope someone else went on a tear (which didn’t always happen). This season, other teams might have to pick their poison. I don’t anticipate a Big Ten championship - the rest of the conference has a very high level of talent and some also have the depth to match Nebraska. But I am starting to raise my expectations beyond a .500 conference schedule and some nervous waiting on NCAA selection day.
Three Huskers scored in double digits; Jaz Shelley (18), MiCole Cayton (12), and Bella Cravens (10). Issie Bourne scored nine and Kendall Coley eight. Every Husker, sans one, scored.
Rebounds - Shelley (6), Sam Haiby (6), Bourne (5) and Alexis Markowski (5)
Jaz Shelley had six assists.
Nebraska’s bench scored 38 points compared to eight for Wake. The Huskers shot 53% from the field and 36% from the three point line. They were also 86% from the free throw line. Wake Forest shot 31% from the field, 13% from long range and 75% from the line.
Nebraska committed 10 turnovers and forced 12. The Huskers committed 21 fouls and drew 14.
This was a confidence building win and one the Huskers can use as they meet their first conference opponent (Minnesota) this weekend.
Go Big Red!