I hope you are safe and warm wherever you are! Now, let’s cheer on the ladies as they face a difficult test vs the Jayhawks.
Playing ranked teams has not been good for Nebraska so far this season, but the team seems to have a turned a corner with their defense. The offense is gaining steam, but still a bit streaky. They’ll need to avoid scoring droughts if they want to win tonight.
Bourne is back. pic.twitter.com/ZxhoEYKpEs— Nebraska WBB (@HuskersWBB) December 21, 2022
As advertised, this game is looking like a defensive slog-fest. Alexis Markowski found the basket about 90 seconds into the game. The Husker defense forced turnovers on the first few KU possessions. Unfortunately, Nebraska is not hitting shots early. Markowski is rising to the challenge of guarding a very good 6’6” KU center. Nebraska 2 Kansas 0 (6:47)
What passes for a scoring explosion ensued in the next two minutes with the end result being a 5-4 Kansas lead at 4:35.
Sammy Haiby is in the game!! So is Maggie Mendelson. The ensuing minutes continue the back and forth effort as KU leads 11-10 at 1:38. Kendall Coley gave Nebraska its first lead at 13-11 but Kansas quickly tied it up (13-13) with a minute to go. Mendelson is going to be the preferred matchup on Jackson when Markowski needs to sit.
Mendelson hit free throws to end the quarter. Nebraska 15 Kansas 13
Kansas hit a three and then two free throws to take a three point lead after the first minute (18-15 KU). Markowski is holding her own against the Kansas star (Jackson). Allison Weidner is part of a Husker run that gets the Huskers a three point lead (24-21 Neb) with 6:45 left. Kendall Moriarty is again showing why Amy Williams trusts her on the floor. Nebraska’s lead grew to 26-21 with 6:30 left.
A Jaz Shelley layup extended the Husker lead to six (30-24 Neb) with 3:39 left. Allison Weidner registered a block, Maddie Krull forced a turnover, and Markowski hit a basket (32-24 Neb). Issie Bourne played some great defense to force another Jayhawk turnover and then she hit a three (assisted by Shelley) to take a double digit lead (35-24 Neb) with 2 minutes left. She wasn’t done yet as she drew an offensive foul on the other end. Mendelson took advantage of the possession (37-24 Neb).
Kansas took advantage of some Husker errors to close the lead.
Nebraska 37 Kansas 29
Shelley drew first blood with a three and the Jayhawks answered with a two (40-31 Neb). Some vintage Shelley no-look passes helped Nebraska’s offense find their way. She also drove the lane if needed. The Husker advantage was 44-35 at the seven minute mark.
The Jayhawks went on a mini run with four points to close within five (44-39 Neb) and forced Amy Williams to use a timeout. KU pressed their advantage after that and closed within four (44-40 Neb) at the media timeout.
Jaz Shelley hit a big three out of the timeout but Kansas answered immediately (47-42 Neb). The Jayhawks seized the momentum with Markowski taking a breather and closed within one (48-47 Neb) until Sam Haiby hit a clutch jumper (50-47 Neb). Mendelson and Markowski are on the floor at the same time to give Nebraska a big paint presence. It paid off as Maggie drew the foul on a drive.
Nebraska 51 Kansas 47
The Jayhawks closed within two very quickly but Jaz Shelley answered (53-49 Neb) in the first minute. A Kansas basket and Nebraska turnover led to a bad scene with Allison Weidner in a lot of pain on the defensive side of the ball (53-51 Neb) with 8:21 left. The injury was severe enough to lead to a media timeout (Weidner clutching a knee).
The game is tied at 55 with six minutes left. Both teams are shooting 40% from the field at the media timeout.
A back and forth defensive struggle ensued for two minutes and then the teams traded three pointers (58-58) with 2:27 left. Markowski drew an offensive foul from KU’s star to give the Huskers the ball with a chance to take the lead. Sam Haiby is on the floor in clutch time - and rewards her coach with a jumper to take back the lead (60-58 Neb). Haiby then forced a jump ball (possesion KU) with 1:49. A big Markowski defensive rebound sent the ball the other way but a turnover (no foul called - but probably should have been) allowed the Jays to tie the game at 60 with 1:13 left.
A Haiby turnover was followed by a Markowski blocked shot. It is crunch time and Nebraska has the ball. The game clock reads 29.6 and the shot clock reads 20. The Huskers have the possession arrow to their advantage.
Haiby’s layup is no good and the Jays call a timeout. Haiby looked to be fouled, but then it looked like the Huskers fouled on the rebound with no call either way.
19 seconds. Jayhawk basketball. The shot clock is dark. Nebraska fouls.
7.7 seconds. Jayhawk basketball. Missed shot. Nebraska rebound (Markowski). Williams calls a timeout.
1.5 seconds. Husker basketball at half court.
Bourne’s layup was too deep under the basket. It was a great play call and executed fairly well to give the Huskers a chance to win in regulation.
Nebraska 60 Kansas 60
The Huskers force a shot clock violation to start the extra frame. Allison Weidner is shown on the sideline with very red eyes - her injury seems more severe than Nebraska fans would like.
Markowski drew a foul and hit one of two free throws (61-60 Neb). KU’s center hit a layup to take the lead (62-61 Kan) with 3:04 left. Mendelson replaced Bourne in the lineup and immediately grabbed an offensive rebound. Her off-balance jumper was no good.
Sam Haiby is back in the game with under two minutes left.
Markowski missed a short one but drew a foul with 1:05 left. Her first free throw tied the game at 62. She missed the second.
A missed shot by the Jayhawks was ruled out of bounds off KU. Review overturned the call to be Jayhawk basketball with 41.6 seconds left. The Jayhawks missed, Shelley rebounded and called an immediate timeout with 31.3 seconds left and 29 seconds on the shot clock.
The Huskers get a shot off but it misses. Kansas rebounds and calls timeout with 1.9 seconds, allowing them to advance the ball past the half court line. The desperation shot misses.
Kansas strikes first (64-62 KU) but Shelley answers to tie the game off the Mendelson screen (64-64). Markowski and Mendelson force a miss and Alexis pulls down the rebound. The Huskers could do nothing with the ensuing possession and the Jayhawks score again (66-64 KU). Shelley drew a foul to go to the line and tie the game at 66 at 2:32.
Both teams trade mid-range jumpers and the game is tied at 68 with 1:11.
A Jayhawk jumper gave them the 70-68 lead. Issie Bourne was called for a moving screen (it was a bullshit call) but then Kansas returned the favor by travelling. A Bourne jumper ties the game at 70 with 34 seconds. Kansas has the ball with a 30 second shot clock.
A BIG TIME REBOUND by Maggie Mendelson gives Nebraska the ball with eight seconds. A timeout allows the Huskers to advance the ball.
It’s GO TIME.
An amazing cut by Shelley gave her a great layup attempt that just rimmed out.
Okay folks. If you have read this far, we should probably charge double for your Corn Nation subscription.
Shelley splashed a three to open scoring for this period (73-70 Neb). Markowski played great defense but then was called for a foul (her fourth) to give KU two free throws (73-72 Neb) with 3:29. A Mendelson hook shot opened it back up to a three point lead (75-72 Neb). Kansas answered with a layup and foul call on Bourne (her fourth). The free throw was good to tie the game at 75 with 2:44.
Markowski is back in the game. Jaz Shelley splashed another three!!! (78-75 Neb) with 2:18. The Huskers force a miss and get the ball back. They are very patient on offense, but Kansas’ defense is better. Markowski is called for her fifth foul on the Jayhawk possession. The first KU shot is no good but the second connects (78-76 Neb) with 1:35.
Jackson for KU is called for a foul (Mendelson is the shooter). Maggie misses the first but hits the second (79-76 Neb) with 1:30 left. Sam Haiby is called for a foul on the made jumper to give KU a chance to tie the game and they do (79-79) with 1:12 left. Haiby draws a foul and KU’s Prater fouls out. Sammy missed both charity shots. Ugh.
With one minute left, KU misses and Mendelson pulled down a big rebound. Sammy is playing point, She drives and kicks it out to Issie Bourne for a three — GOOD!!!! Nebraska leads 82-79 with 33.1 seconds left.
KU misses their three and Sammy is fouled on the rebound with 23.3 seconds. She hit both to open up a five point lead (84-79) with 16 seconds. The Jayhawk shot misses and Nebraska rebounds. With 5.9 seconds left, Jackson (KU) fouls out and Mendelson goes to the line. She hits one of two and Nebraska wins 85-79.
THE GAME IS FINALLY DONE and HUSKERS WIN!! HUSKERS WIN!!
With the game on the line, we saw Sam Haiby become the vintage clutch Sammy we’ve gotten used to seeing again. That may be incredibly important if Allison Weidner’s injury is bad and she is out for an extended period of time.
Maggie Mendelson is showing her raw potential. Imagine what she can do when she has more than a week and half of practice?!?
Final. Nebraska 85 Kansas 79
Thoughts and Stats
Jaz Shelley led Nebraska scorers with 24, Alexis Markowski had 18, Sam Haiby had 12 and Issie Bourne 10.
Ho-hum, Markowski notched another double-double with 10 rebounds. Maggie Mendelson came close with nine points and nine rebounds. Jaz Shelley had six rebounds.
Shelley had six assists, Mendelson two blocks, and Sam Haiby logged 25 minutes. She was sorely needed after Weidner went down. I fear Weidner’s injury is not going to be good news for Nebraska. That blow is only cushioned by the re-emergence of Haiby.
Nebraska shot 39% from the field while holding the Jays to 33%. Kansas committed 22 turnovers and Nebraska 18. The Jays kicked Husker ‘behinds’ in rebounds 68-46 and earned 22 second chance points compared to 10 for Nebraska. To be honest, I’m not sure any stat explains why Nebraska won this game except for depth. The Husker bench scored 26 points compared to five for KU. Nebraska could rotate more liberally and kept their players fresh and ready to make the play they needed.
In the end, a win is a win is a win. Nebraska
finally* knocked off a ranked opponent. Their confidence is growing and the road only gets tougher over the next few games as #19 Michigan and #4 Indians are next on the list.
*Update - several people rightfully pointed out that the Huskers beat Maryland earlier this season and the Terps were ranked (and still are).
Go Big Red!