It’s Senior Day and the Huskers honored Sam Haiby, MiCole Cayton and Bella Cravens. The Husker radio crew felt that Sammy and Bella were likely to be back next season.
A big third quarter propelled the Huskers to victory today. With this 73-59 win, the Huskers are the #6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State and Iowa are the co-champions for the regular season with the Buckeyes earning the overall #1 seed in the tournament.
The Big Ten women’s basketball tournament bracket. pic.twitter.com/SuLQSIqOlw— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) February 27, 2022
The Huskers took an early 5-0 lead behind a basket by Issie Bourne and three pointer by Alexis Markowski. Markowski followed that with her first foul, giving the Wildcats two (made) free throws. The Wildcats managed a 7-7 tie at the seven minute mark, but Markowski got the lead back afer a dish by Jaz Shelley (9-7 Neb). Haiby was called for an offensive foul (I have my doubts, but the TV announcers were pretty sure it was a charge).
Alexis Markwoski wanted the Wildcats to know the first long rang shot was not a fluke as she hit another (assisted by Haiby) to give the Huskers 14-8 lead that forced a Northwestern timeout. Two Nebraska turnovers in a row allowed the Wildcats to tie the game at 14 with 90 seconds left in the quarter. Northwestern is playing for the NCAA tournament lives while Nebraska is playing for the difference between the six or seven seed in the B1G tournament with a bye coming their way regardless.
A Haiby runner ended the scoring for the quarter.
Nebraska 16 Northwestern 14
The Wildcats took their first lead at 17-16 with their first shot of the second quarter and the lead went back and forth for the first minute with each team taking the lead back on their first few possessions. Issie Bourne played a big part in Nebraska’s points. The score settled at 21-20 Nebraska at the eight minute mark with both teams missing some shots (and committing turnovers). Bourne and Cravens blocks were the reasons for some of the missed shots for the team in purple.
Jaz Shelley took a hard charge, a shoulder to the lower ribs. That turnover led to a hard foul on Issie Bourne who broke the scoring stalemate and became the first Husker in double figures with two free throws at 5:50 (23-20 Nebraska). Another towering Husker block, this one from Markowski, got the crowd roaring. Two important Wildcats (Burton and Shaw) have two fouls apiece. The Huskers are in the bonus with three minutes left in the half.
As the clock went under a minute, Issie hit another three to give Nebraska a 30-25 lead. Northwestern answered with a basket to end the half.
Nebraska 30 Northwestern 27
Bourne and Markowski lead Nebraska with 14 and 10 points. They are also the leading rebounders with five each. Sam Haiby has five assists and two steals.
For Northwestern, they managed to largely hold serve against Nebraska with Veronica Burton on the bench. She’ll be back in the third quarter and the Huskers had better be ready for a Wildcat team that wants this W badly. Northwestern is shooting 45% from the three point line (9-28) when they are normally just barely at 30%. Nebraska is muddying up the paint, forcing the Wildcats to shoot long and so far they are making them more than normal.
Jaz Shelley announced her presence with a three to open the half (33-27 Neb). Allison Weidner didn’t want anyone to forget about her and hit one of her own (36-27 Neb). The next time Nebraska had the ball, the refs missed some foul calls on the Wildcats but then called Bourne (her third foul) for a ticky tack call - and the PBA crowd got loud. The Wildcats began a full court press and caused a Husker turnover. A foul call on Haiby and a no-call (that should have been a Wildcat over the back commited on Weidner) cemented the crowd’s ire with the officials. A couple of Husker baskets only made the crowd louder (40-29 Neb). Northwestern needed a timeout at 5:53.
The Wildcat star, Burton, picked up her third foul. At the media timeout, the score was 42-31 in favor of Nebraska. After the timeout, Jaz Shelley hit a three to extend the lead to 14 (45-31) but the Wildcats answered with a five point run to cut the lead to nine (45-36) but Alison Weidner broke the run (47-36 Neb). Shelley wasn’t done either as some fast and furious scoring included another Shelley three and a Cravens “and one” (53-40 Neb). The final minute of the quarter included five more Husker points and some incredibly pesky, disruptive MiCole Cayton defense.
Nebraska 58 Northwestern 41
It took almost two minutes for either team to score, but Bourne found the bucket, but that was answered by a Northwestern three point play and Haiby basket (62-44 Neb). Bourne picked up her fourth foul, bringing Markowski back in the game. Northwestern was feisty, but had dug a deep hole as the Huskers maintained a 16-18 point lead through the first half of the quarter (66-50). The score stayed there for a while. Markowski picked up her fourth foul with three minutes left and the score 66-52 Nebraska.
In the final two minutes, the Wildcats made a bit of a run to close within 12 (66-54), but the Huskers didn’t let them get any closer. With a minute left, Amy Williams starting pulling her seniors so they could get ovations from the crowd. Some Markowski points and a garbage time three by Northwestern finished the scoring.
Final. Nebraska 73 Northwestern 59
Final Thoughts and Stats
Three Huskers scored in double digits: Bourne (20), Shelley (17), and Markowski (16) Markowski earned (yet another) double double with 12 rebounds.
The Huskers committed 18 turnovers to 11 for Northwestern - which is pretty typical of any team playing the Wildcats. The Huskers shot 50% from the field (26-52) and from behind the arc (9-18) while holding Northwestern to 35% shooting (16-59).
The Huskers will play in the Big Ten Tournament Thursday night approximately 8:00 pm central. They will take on the winner of Wednesday’s play-in game between Wisconsin and Illinois.