Michigan State is without their head coach, Suzy Merchant because of a car crash. We send our best wishes to coach for a speedy recovery!
The Huskers needed a quick start and they got it behind some good three point shooting (it seems like a while since we could say that) and offensive rebounding. The Spartans lead the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, so that is notable. At the media timeout, the Huskers led 14-6. The Huskers also have two blocked shots already (Shelley and Bourne).
MSU made one and missed one free throw out of the break (14-7 Neb). The Husker offense went cold, but fortunately they didn’t allow a big run for the Spartans.
Nebraska 14 MSU 10
Issie Bourne picked up where she left off from the first quarter and grabbed a layup to score her 7th and 8th points. Sam Haiby stole the ball and found Markowski for another quick score (18-10 Neb). Both defenses are playing well as the Huskers and Spartans trade turnovers. After three minutes, the score sat at 20-14 in Nebraska’s favor. A Stewart three increased the lead to nine (23-14 Neb).
The lead is up to 13!! A Stewart three and Haiby layup give Nebraska a 9-0 run into the media timeout (27-14 Neb).
Both teams were cold coming out of the timeout, but Kendall Moriarty grabbed a three, followed by two Spartan baskets and a Krull three pointer (33-18 Neb). Krull added to the lead with two free throws (35-18 Neb). The 17 point margin was maintained for the next minute+, thanks to turnovers by both teams.
A Jaz Shelley three meant the Huskers have doubled up the Spartans at 40-20. The Spartans managed a basket to end scoring for the half.
Nebraska 40 MSU 22
The Huskers grabbed a quick basket but then the offense went cold for two minutes. The Spartans could not make up any ground as the Nebraska defense continued to play well. After four minutes, the score stood at 44-26 Nebraska.
More than a minute later, the score waas the same until Issie Bourne ran the floor for two points. At the media timeout, the Husker lead was 20 (46-26 Neb).
The Husker blocked shot total continues to grow, as did the lead. Anni Stewart is playing one of her best defensive games tonight (49-28 Neb). A three point play by MSU was followed by two free throws from Stewart (51-31 Neb) at 2:07. The Spartans went on a four point run and Amy Williams called a timeout to break the momentum with 1:05 (51-35 Neb).
The Huskers were outscored in the final minute and their lead was down to 13.
Nebraska 53 Michigan State 40
The Spartans commit two fouls in the first 20 seconds. That could be big in helping Nebraska get to the free throw line later. The Husker lead dropped to 11 before Issie Bourne sunk a three. The Spartan full court press is hurting Nebraska. Also hurting is Jaz Shelley as she rolled an ankle and limped down the court. Hopefully that isn’t serious but she’s clearly not comfortable. Issie completed a three point play to extend the lead back to 15 (59-44 Neb) at the eight minute mark.
Two Spartan threes sandwiched a Haiby layup and the Nebraska lead was back down to 11 (61-50 Neb). Nebraska needs a run to put their foot on the throat of the Spartans. There is too much time left (6:45) to try and “hold on”.
Amy Williams’ timeout was followed by a quick MSU basket and the lead was down to nine (61-52 Neb). Michigan State got the ball back with a chance to cut the lead even more with 6:00 left. The teams traded empty possessions (turnovers and fouls) for a minute of game time until MSU sunk a three and closed within six (61-55 Neb). Anni Stewart commited an offensive foul and the wheels are coming off for Nebraska.
More Sparan points bring them within four (61-57 Neb) and then a Husker turnover (radio guys said it was a bad call) gave MSU the ball back yet again.
A Husker foul continues the seeming collapse by the Big Red. The free throws are good and MSU is within two (61-59 Neb) at 3:58.
Husker turnover. Eeeek.
Issie is fouled and misses both free throws. There is 3:10 left.
MSU’s starting post player fouled out of the game at 3:07. Markowski hit both free throws (63-59 Neb).
MSU floater is good. (63-61 Neb) with 1:46
At one minute, the Huskers have the ball. Markowski is fouled.
Markowski makes one (64-61 Neb).
Michigan State makes one free throw (64-62 Neb) with 34 seconds left. Amy Williams has one timeout left.
Issie Bourne is fouled. She hasn’t been good at the line toinght (1-5). She made both. (66-62 Neb) with 33 seconds.
Markowski rebounded an MSU miss and was fouled with 24 seconds. She missed both but Haiby rebounded the ball. Shelley was fouled with 22 seconds left.
Shelley made both (68-62 Neb) with 22 seconds left. Haiby’s offensive rebound gave the Huskers a much better chance to hold on to this one. Kudos to #4.
An MSU player ran at Bourne and successfully drew the foul; the basket was good. The free throw missed but MSU got the offensive rebound. Haiby fouled a three point shooter (it was a pretty questionable call from the replay I saw). Amy Williams is losing her mind over the officiating. MSU made all three (68-67 Neb) with 11 seconds left.
MSU fouled Sam Haiby. The officials reviewed to determine if it was intentional but it was not. Haiby made one (69-67 Neb) with 11 seconds.
The Spartans shot free throws with four seconds left. Both were missed! Markowski is fouled on the rebound. She made the first AND THE SECOND! (71-67 Nebraska)
Final. Nebraska 71 MSU 67
Stats and Thoughts
The Huskers have been a team that dug themselves a hole and then played well in the fourth to make it a game. Tonight, they built a big lead and then had to hang on by the skin of their teeth. The Huskers are now 13-9 overall and 5-6 in the B1G.
Issie Bourne scored 20; Sam Haiby and Alexis Markowski each scored 11. Jaz Shelley and Callin Hake pitched in eight apiece.
I know this will be a shock (sarcasm) but Alexis Markowski earned yet another double double with 13 rebounds. Sam Haiby joined her in that regard with 10 rebounds of her own. Issie Bourne just missed that accolade with nine caroms. Shelley and Bourne each blocked two shots. Shelley dished out six assists.
The Huskers shot 43% from the field (23-54), which was very similar to the Spartans at 42% (24-57). The Huskers were 8-24 from the three point line (33%) and held MSU to 21% (4-19). Nebraska outrebounded Michigan State 45-29 but committed 26(!!!) turnovers. MSU had 19 TOs of their own.
Nebraska travels to Northwestern on Monday evening for a 6:00 pm tip.