It is official. Allison Weidner is out for the season. Sam Haiby is now back in the starting lineup.
scary hours pic.twitter.com/nfCSIhshlZ— Nebraska WBB (@HuskersWBB) December 28, 2022
The Huskers first two possessions were turnovers and Michigan capitalized to take a 4-0 lead. The Woverines are known for being a slow starting team...but they changed that narrative in their most recent game against North Carolina (a win). They seem determined to make that the trend instead of the exception.
The Wolverines are playing really great defense and forcing Husker misses. On the other end, they aren’t missing much and extend the lead to 9-0 in the first three minutes. Issie Bourne finally found the basket for Nebraska (9-2 Mich). Markowski uncharacteristically missed two free throws after drawing a foul. She drew another foul, making it two on one of Michigan’s starters (Williams). Unfortunately, she picked up her second foul shortly after and went to the bench, replaced by Maggie Mendelson. At the first media timeout, the score was 13-4 Michigan.
The poor shooting and turnovers for Nebraska continued and the Wolverines extended the lead to 19-4 before Anni Stewart went to the line with 1:07 left. Markowski is back on the floor with two fouls and hit one shot (19-5 Mich). Nebraska forced a shot clock violation with 17 seconds left and the pressure defense of Michigan did not allow them to capitalize.
Michigan 19 Nebraska 5
Michigan splashed a three to go up 22-5. They are embarrassing Nebraska in every which way right now. Jaz Shelley finally got a drive and bucket but could not make up ground as the Wolverines hit a “and one” (25-7 Mich). Krull found Bourne all alone for a basket, the Huskers forced a turnover and Hake hit a three (assisted by Shelley) to finally get Nebraska into double digits (25-12 Mich). Shelley started to feel it and was fouled on a three point attempt. She hit two (25-14 Mich) with 6:54 left in the half.
Brown and Shelley are starting to get chippy (at least Brown is). That is a good sign for Nebraska. When Brown (a former Husker) is frustrated, she tries too hard. Nebraska forced another shot clock violation. At the media timeout, the score is 28-14 Michigan.
Haiby drew a second foul on Leigha Brown and then took a steal/layup right at Brown. She didn’t draw the third foul but got the bucket to draw the Huskers within 12 (30-18 Mich). A Wolverine free throw, Stewart basket, Husker steal and Stewart three made it a single digit game (31-23 Mich)! Stewart then forced a jump ball (it could have been an easy layup for Michigan). Some back and forth scoring ended the half.
Michigan 35 Nebraska 26
Sam Haiby drew first blood but Mchigan answered immediately to maintain the nine point edge (37-28 Mich). Bourne made it seven but Michigan (should have been called for a charge) answered (39-30 Mich). Nebraska closed within seven, but a Wolverine three extended the lead back to 10 (42-32 Mich) at 6:52. More offense ensued as Hake hit a three and Michigan a two (35-44 Mich).
Mendelson picked up her third foul. Shelley should have taken a three, but passed it off and Mendelson was fighting for the rebound on the miss. The Husker defense has definitely taken it up a few notches and is disruptive. Now, they need to get the offense on track.
Anni Stewart drew Nebraska within seven (44-37 Mich) but then committed a foul (kind of a crappy call). Both free throws were good but Jaz Shelley scored one of the niftiest reverse layups I’ve ever seen but missed the free throw. Nebraska got two offensive rebounds and shot attempts but couldn’t get any closer (45-39 Mich).
With under a minute, the Wolverines held a nine point lead (50-41 Mich) but some rushed offense by Michigan did not result in points. Maggie Mendelson picked up her fourth foul and one free throw was good.
Michigan 51 Nebraska 41
Nobody could find offense until 8:12 when Michigan scored (52-41 Mich). Markowski notched her third foul which directly led to the Wolverine basket (she wasn’t willing to give up the fourth foul). A Husker three was answered by two Michigan free throws and a three (58-44 Mich) to give the Wolverines a significant lead with 6:21 left.
Things didn’t get any better after that as a team known as a closer began to close. The lead grew to 19 (63-44 Mich) at 4:53. Maggie Mendelson hit a layup and was fouled but could not convert the free throw (63-46 Mich). She blocked a shot shortly thereafter. Markowski was fouled and hit one (63-47 Mich) with 3:58 left.
Stuff happened but it was all an academic exercise at that point.
Final. Michigan 76 Nebraska 59
Stats and Thoughts
Any team capable of playing really good, pressure defense has flustered the Huskers all season. A ranked team that can play defense and then score the points to overcome good Husker defense will get a win.
Michigan had a great game plan and executed it well. Even though they lost some top players from last season, they showed they are more than capable of filling those gaps.
Jaz Shelley led Nebraska with 21 points and Callin Hake had 11. Bourne and Markowski each had eight rebounds. Shelley had five assists. Mendelson had two blocked shots, but also fouled out.
Callin Hake and Kendall Moriarty are both making a push to replace Maddie Krull in the starting lineup. Krull is a very good defender, but has taken a step back from her days at South Dakota as a scorer. All three guards are very capable, and matchups may determine who gets minutes until someone separates themself.
The Huskers had their chances, but couldn’t come up with a run when they needed it. Michigan came in very motivated to avenge the loss a season ago, and they never were seriously challenged throughout this game.
Nebraska missed Allison Weidner and I’m sure the news that she is done for the season affected the team. Hopefully, they pick up the pieces soon as the Big Ten schedule is tough, but the Huskers still can make some waves.
Go Big Red!