Ruby Porter is out tonight. Bella Cravens has a sprained ankle and is out. Alexis Markowski will start in her place. Losing Cravens will hurt and the Huskers need to rebound well if they hope to win this game. Without Cravens, their rebounding will suffer.
Amy Dilk might be back for Michigan - she is in uniform but still recovering from a serious injury (dislocated kneecap) suffered in game one. She won’t start, but is listed as “available”. Michigan’s top reserve Laila Phelia is out (COVID protocols).
Issie Bourne will have her hands full - being asked to guard Naz Hillmon who is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year. She was up to the task as she drew an offensive foul on Hillmon. Markowski and Haiby hit the basket first to give Nebraska a 4-0 lead.
The Huskers extended the lead to 8-2 before a foul on Annika Stewart gave the Wolverines two free throws (made) with 5:45 left. Jaz Shelley got on the board but Michigan answered (10-6 Neb). The Huskers worked through their lineup and everyone played their part to overwhelm the Wolverines.
Nebraska 19 Michigan 8
Issie Bourne drew a foul to open scoring in the second quarter (20-8 Neb). The Huskers continued to play team ball that kept the Wolverines off balance and scrambling. The lead was 23-9 two minutes into the second quarter. The Wolverines dialed up the defensive intensity, but it didn’t pay dividends as Nebraska matched them. At six minutes the score was Nebraska 26 Michigan 13. Alexis Markowski picked up her second foul with five minutes left in the half. Bourne also has two fouls. A few minutes later, Kendall Coley drew her second foul. The Huskers are running short on tall players who are not in foul trouble.
As the clock runs under three minutes, the score is 32-17 Nebraska. Allison Weidner is playing hard and aggressive for Nebraska (as are most Huskers). Neither team did much for two minutes but both teams found some offense to end the half.
Nebraska 34 Michigan 21
Jaz Shelley and Issie Bourne lead Nebraska with seven points each. Shelley has six rebounds and Alexis Markowski five. Nebraska has scored 22 of their 34 points in the paint and has 19 points off turnovers.
At the half, Jaz Shelley has 7 points, 6 rebounds.— Steve Marik (@Steve_Marik) January 5, 2022
Issie Bourne has 7 points and playing strong defense against Naz Hillmon.
Eight #Huskers have scored.
Nebraska is out-rebounding Michigan 23-14. #Huskers also getting terrific defensive play on All-Big Ten center Naz Hillman (5 points). Leigha Brown has been off for the Wolverines (1 FG)— Kevin Sjuts (@kevinsjuts) January 5, 2022
Both teams came out tight, but Michigan scored four points before Nebraska found the basket (Markowski). At 7:34, the score was 36-27 Nebraska. Markowski hit two free throws to extend the lead back out to 11 (38-27 Neb). Markowski becomes the first Husker in double digits with her 9th and 10th points (40-27 Neb). The lead continued to grow for Nebraska as Haiby and Markowski hit shots thanks to hustle from their teammates (45-31 Neb at the media timeout).
Michigan superstar Hillmon has three fouls - which could be big. Nebraska is in the bonus and Coley hits her free thows to put Nebraska up 47-31. The lead continued to grow to 17 points behind Markowski and Bourne (but Issie drew her 3rd foul). Michigan closed the lead down to 12 (53-41) with less than a minute left in the quarter.
Nebraska 53 Michigan 41
In the first two minutes, Issie Bourne picked up her fourth foul and Markowski earned her first 20 point game as a Husker. After three minutes, the score was 59-47 but MIchigan earned an easy basket to close within 10. Even with four fouls, Bourne became the second Husker into double digit scoring (63-49 Neb). At the media timeout, the score was Nebraska 63 and Michigan 52.
Nebraska won some games against ranked teams last season (but also had some horrible losses). If they pull this off tonight it will be their first win against a top 10 team since 2014. Michigan is eating into the lead, so we are a long way from celebrating that yet.
Jaz Shelley is EVERYWHERE. She is the leading scorer, rebounder, assister, shot blocker and probably concession salesperson for the Husker program. She also drove and found Scoggin for a dagger three. Nebraska leads 72-55 with 2:40 left. Issie Bourne fouled out shortly thereafter.
Nebraska extended the lead to 20 with less than two minutes left (76-55).
A technical on Kendall Coley was followed by a three pointer by her.
Final. Nebraska 79 Michigan 58
Final Thoughts and Stats
After the timid performance against Michigan State a few days ago, I was worried about this Husker team and their mindset heading into a difficult stretch of games. Nebraska was the bully from the start tonight and made sure they were in control at all times. Missing Bella Cravens could have given this team an excuse to play timid, but they doubled down and made sure that Michigan could not establish their offense at any level.
Four Huskers scored in double digits led by Alexis Markowski (20), Jaz Shelley (12), Issie Bourne (11) and Sam Haiby 10. Shelly earned yet another double double with 12 rebounds. Markowski had seven and Haiby six.
Sam Haiby had four assists and Shelley two blocked shots.
The Huskers host Iowa (ranked team!) next.
Go Big Red.