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Nebraska WBB Loses 88-81 to TCU Despite Huge Second Half

The Huskers dug too deep a hole to get out of as the clock wound down

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 12 Nebraska at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nebraska cut 17 points off a 21-point second-half deficit, but the Huskers could not complete the comeback in an 88-81 loss to unbeaten TCU on Saturday in the championship game of the St. Pete Showcase.

With the loss, Nebraska slipped to 4-2 on the season while TCU improved to 7-0.

Jaz Shelley led the Huskers with 17 points, while Darian White contributed 16, as Nebraska’s two graduate guards combined for 26 points in the second half to help fuel the rally after falling behind 45-25 at halftime.

Alexis Markowski added her second double-double of the season with 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, including 10 points and eight boards in the second half. She also earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

Freshman Logan Nissley also played a major role in the rally with a career-high 11 points in just over eight second-half minutes. Nissley hit back-to-back three-pointers late in the third quarter and added a three-point play in the fourth to move the Big Red within striking distance. Her three-point play pulled Nebraska within 80-76 with 37.1 seconds left, after the Huskers trailed 48-27 early in the third quarter.

Kendall Coley added a season-high eight points on 3-of-3 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers of her own to help spark the Huskers.

Coley and Nissley combined for three straight threes in a one-minute span late in the third quarter to cut a 59-43 deficit to 60-52 with 2:32 left in the period.

A Markowski three-point play with 8:04 left in the game trimmed the margin to 66-61, but TCU pushed the lead back to 13 at 76-63 after Madison Conner’s only three-pointer of the game with less than five minutes to play.

The Huskers made one more surge with back-to-back buckets by Markowski and a free throw from Shelley, before a three-pointer from White. Five straight points from Nissley then cut the margin to 80-76 with just under 40 seconds left.

But Sedonah Prince and Conner sank free throws down the stretch to seal the win for the Horned Frogs. Prince, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, was named the tournament MVP.

As good as Prince was, Agnes Emma-Nnopu was the key element in TCU’s first-half surge. Emma-Nnopu hit a career-high six first-half three-pointers and accounted for the entire difference on the scoreboard with 20 points. The Stanford transfer, who was averaging seven points per game, finished with a game-high 26 points before fouling out midway through the fourth period.

Aaliyah Roberson added 15 points off the bench for TCU, while the Huskers held Conner - the nation’s leading three-point shooter - to 13 points on 1-of-8 three-point shooting.

TCU outshot Nebraska, 47.6-42.0 in the game, including 10-for-32 from long range. While Emma-Nnopu was 6-for-9 from long range in the first half, the rest of the Horned Frogs were 0-for-10. However, NU was just 2-for-13 from long range in the opening period and just 10-for-31 from the field overall. The Huskers hit 5-of-12 threes in the second half and went 19-of-38 from the field overall in the final 20 minutes.

TCU also won the rebounding battle 39-38, including 25-15 in the first half. The Big Red outworked TCU on the glass 23-14 in the second half. Both teams played offense at a high level, committing just seven turnovers apiece.

Nebraska returns home to take on Florida Atlantic on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Tip-off at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m.