The Big Ten women’s championship game is set. Indiana and Iowa will meet tomorrow and Nebraska will wait for their NCAA destination. Iowa defeated Nebraska for the third time this season behind a 40+ point game from Caitlin Clark.
Issie Bourne started the game with a basket and “and one” to give the Huskers a quick 3-0 lead. The Hawkeyes answered (3-2 Neb). Two Nebraska turnovers gave Iowa a chance to take their first lead, and then extend it (6-3 Iowa). After some back and forth basketball, Nebraska took back the lead with a Sam Haiby three point play (10-8 Neb). One of the Iowa starters picked up her second foul and Bourne hit the free throws (12-8 Neb). MiCole Cayton (one of Nebraska’s best defenders) came in to guard Caitlin Clark, but Clark is going to get her points regardless of who is guarding her. The score was 16-13 in favor of the Huskers at the media timeout.
The score held stead for over a minute with the Huskers getting two shots blocked in three possessions and Iowa scoring a basket. A no-look pass from Shelley to Bourne got Nebraska going on offense and that was followed by a Markowski block. The Huskers are following their plan from last night and attacking the paint early and often. Sam Haiby took a charge from Caitlin Clark and Nebraska converted the possession into points (20-17). Bourne is playing REALLY well right now. The Hawkeyes are blocking a lot of shots when Nebraska gets into the paint but also turning the ball over (Clark has five already).
Nebraska 20 Iowa 17
Bella Cravens made a great block - she is sporting a black eye from the hit she took last night. There was not much scoring in the first 90 seconds but the pace picked up for the next 30 and the score was 25-22 Neb at the eight minute mark. Markowski is feasting on rebounds. The scoring went stagnant for almost two minutes until Jaz Shelley hit her first three (28-22 Neb). At the media timeout, the score was 28-25 Nebraska with two Iowa free throws pending.
Out of the timeout, Iowa took the lead back (30-28). After some back and forth, the game was tied at 32 with under three minutes in the half. Makenna Warnock has three fouls for Iowa. At the two minute mark both teams starting trading one-point leads. Unlike the previous game, the fouls are being called evenly on both teams.
Iowa 38 Nebraska 35
Bourne has 13 points, Shelley nine and Haiby seven. Haiby and Markowski have four rebounds each. The Haweyes are working hard to keep Markowski under wraps, and it is working as she has yet to score. Iowa has blocked seven Nebraska shots. Nebraska is only1-12 from three point range and shooting 33% overall from the field (38% for Iowa). Iowa has committed eight turnovers (seven by Clark) to four for Nebraska.
Markowski opened scoring for the quarter with her first points of the game at the nine minute mark. Iowa answered (40-37 Iowa). The Hawkeyes extended their lead to seven (44-37). Both teams went back and forth in a game that is lower scoring than both usually play. The score was 50-43 Iowa at the media timeout with a Clark free throw pending.
The Hawkeyes went on an offensive barage to take a 12 point lead at 2:30 (59-47 Iowa), forcing Amy Williams to call a timeout. The Huskers cut the lead to 10 for most of the remainder of the quarter but an Iowa buzzer beating three extended the lead to 13.
Iowa 66 Nebraska 53
Iowa continued to aedd to their lead with Caitlin Clark leading the charge (73-56 Iowa). After an Amy Williams timeout, the lead continued to grow (75-57 Iowa). The Huskers are 2-21 from the three point line. Eeek. Bella Cravens picked up her fourth foul. Jaz Shelley hit a three to bring Nebraska a bit closer (75-62) at the four minute mark. I don’t think the Huskers can rally from this deficit, but they certainly haven’t given up.
A double technical foul was called on Bourne and Iowa’s Kate Martin after a scrum on the floor. The Huskers were awarded the ball because Martin had committed an offensive foul prior to the double technical. Kate Martin then committed her fourth foul trying to displace Markowski on a rebound. Alexis made her free throws (78-66 Iowa). The Hawkeyes are in no hurry as the clock winds under two minutes.
Final. Iowa 83 Nebraska 66
Final Thoughts and Stats
Bourne led three Huskers in double figures with 16 points. Haiby and Shelley scored 15 each. After being shut out in the first half, Alexis Markowski scored seven. Markowski pulled down nine rebounds and Haiby eight. Shelley had five assists.
Nebraska took 74 shots compared to 60 for Iowa and only made 35% of them. The three point line was not kind as the Huskers were 3-26 (12%). Iowa committed 13 turnovers and Nebraska nine. Iowa won the rebound battle 43-37.
This Nebraska team used a lot of their depth playing three games in three days but it wasn’t enough to stave off a determined Iowa team. Next up, the Huskers will learn their NCAA tournament seeding and destination.