Sorry for the late recap - it was my first day at a new job and time got away from me.
I admit that I was worried going into this game. The Husker offense has been lackluster and the defense good, but not lockdown, as of late. After the Huskers pushed Indiana pretty hard in a seven point loss in Bloomington earlier this season, I figured the Hoosiers would be out to show they were the top team in the conference.
Nebraska has completed the “hard” part of the conference schedule. Five of the Huskers six losses have come to teams ahead of them in the conference standings (all ranked). The sixth loss came to the team right behind Nebraska. The Huskers are 8-6 in the conference and would be the #6 seed if the conference tournament started tomorrow. If they take care of business, they could be 12-6 when the regular season concludes. That isn’t a given, especially with a feisty Northwestern team on the schedule and Minnesota showing they are plenty capable of upsetting Nebraska (a three point game earlier in the season). I suppose a top 4 seed (and bye) is possible, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
I guess the only bad thing to say is free throws, woof. Nebraska was 9-21 from the line. If they make a normal % of their charity shots, this game is a much bigger blowout.
Sam Haiby scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead five Huskers in double figures. Jaz Shelley matched Haiby for the team scoring lead with 14 points of her own, including a huge fourth-quarter three-pointer that gave Indiana its largest deficit of the season at 65-48 with 3:53 left. Shelley added two free throws 30 seconds later after a technical foul on Indiana Coach Teri Moren, before Haiby finished at the rim to put the Big Red up 69-48 with three minutes left.
The Huskers (19-6, 8-6 Big Ten) held Indiana without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter and used a 17-0 run capped by Haiby’s layup to put the Big Ten-leading Hoosiers away. Indiana slipped to 18-4 and 10-2 in the Big Ten with the loss. Nebraska entered the game at No. 20 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, while Indiana began the day at No. 15 in the NET.
Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year candidate Alexis Markowski continued her powerful play inside with her fifth double-double of the season, contributing 10 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds. Fellow freshman and Nebraska native Allison Weidner added 11 points off the bench, including eight points in the first half to help the Huskers take a 34-26 halftime lead. Third-year sophomore Isabelle Bourne put in 10 points and four boards.
Bella Cravens also contributed big minutes with seven points and six rebounds off the bench, while Ashley Scoggin contributed six points on a pair of third-quarter threes to give Nebraska its second win over a top-10 this season and its first win over a top-five foe since defeating No. 5 LSU (77-63) on Dec. 20, 2009 at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska’s win over No. 5 Indiana joined a 79-58 pounding of No. 8 Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Jan. 4, giving the Huskers their 12th win over a top-10 opponent in program history, and their 11th since 2003-04. It marked just the second time in school history that a Big Red team had defeated more than one top-10 team in the same season, joining 2009-10 when the Big 12 Champion Huskers notched a trio of top-10 victories.
NU’s defense held Indiana to just eight points in the second quarter and eight points in the fourth, as the Huskers limited Indiana to just 31.9 percent (23-72) from the field, including 2-for-23 (.087) from three-point range. Indiana added 7-of-13 free throws - all in the second half - but got outworked on the glass by Nebraska, 48-40. IU did win the turnover battle, 16-11.
Nebraska answered with 45.9 percent (28-61) shooting, including 7-of-15 three-pointers. NU’s 15 three-point attempts were a season low, but Indiana is one of the top three point defenses in the conference.
On Thursday, Nebraska travels Thursday to Penn State. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Lady Lions is set for 6 p.m. (CT) with video coverage provided for subscribers of B1G+. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will provide the call on the Huskers Radio Network and Huskers.com.