A solid season came to an end tonight in Lawrence, Kansas as Nebraska ended its season 18-15, while Kansas improved to 22-11. Isabelle Bourne led Nebraska with 17 points, while Jaz Shelley added 12 points and nine assists.
Nebraska never led but kept KU within striking distance for the entire game in front of 3,730 fans that included a large contingent of Husker fans at Allen Fieldhouse. With less than nine minutes remaining, the Huskers trailed just 50-49 after a Shelley basket. Shelley’s score followed a Kendall Moriarty layup to open the quarter that cut the KU lead to 48-47. It was Moriarty’s final basket of the night, as the NU sophomore finished with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in her first college start in place of three-time All-Big Ten guard Sam Haiby. A fifth-year senior who finished No. 12 on Nebraska’s career scoring list with more than 1,600 points, Haiby suffered a lower leg injury in the second quarter of Nebraska’s second-round WNIT win over Northern Iowa.
With Kansas clinging to a 50-49 lead, Zakiyah Franklin hit a pair of shots to extend the KU margin to 54-49 and force a Nebraska timeout with 6:43 left. Franklin finished as one of four Jayhawks in double figures with 13 points. KU’s Chandler Prater, who finished with 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, scored to extend the Kansas run to 6-0 moments later. The two teams traded baskets for the next three minutes, with a Bourne layup cutting the KU lead to 60-55 with three minutes left.
Neither team hit a field goal the rest of the way, as Holly Kersgieter sank four straight free throws in the final 45 seconds to seal the KU win. Kersgieter finished with 14 points.
Taiyanna Jackson led Kansas with 16 points and 12 rebounds, including 10 points in the first half to help the Jayhawks to a 30-25 halftime lead.
Nebraska hit just 37.7 percent (23-61) of its shots, and just 6-of-26 three-pointers (.231), including 1-of-13 in the second half. The Huskers also went just 3-for-9 at the free throw line, all in the second half.
Kansas answered by hitting 45.8 percent (27-59) of its shots, but just 4-of-24 threes (.167) and 6-of-9 free throws. The Jayhawks won the game on the boards, producing a 46-29 edge on the glass that led to a 21-6 margin in second-chance points. The Huskers countered with a 15-9 advantage in turnover margin that resulted in the Big Red outscoring KU 15-12 in points off turnovers.
Kansas jumped to an early 11-3 lead and carried an 18-13 advantage to the second quarter. Neither team scored in the first three minutes of the second quarter until Jackson scored four straight points to spark a 6-0 Kansas run. The Jayhawks took their biggest lead at 24-13 into the final media timeout of the half, but the Huskers erupted on a 7-0 run coming out of the timeout to cut the KU margin to 24-20 and force a Jayhawk timeout with 2:31 left in the half.
The Big Red pulled within a single possession at 26-23 on an Annika Stewart three-pointer with 1:55 left and remained just three points down at 28-25 after a Shelley jumper with 26 seconds left in the half. KU pushed the lead back to 30-25 at intermission after a pair of Franklin free throws with five seconds left.
Bourne led the Huskers with eight first-half points - all in the opening quarter - while Shelley and Stewart each contributed five points. Callin Hake and Moriarty both knocked down three-pointers in the half for the Big Red, while Maddie Krull added a bucket to account for NU’s scoring.
Nebraska hit just 10-of-30 shots (.333), but connected on 5-of-13 threes (.385). The Huskers did not attempt a free throw.
Jackson led the Jayhawks with 12 points and six rebounds, while Franklin contributed seven points. Kersgieter added five points, while Prater, Nadira Eltayeb and Zsofia Telegdy each pitched in two points.
Kansas hit 13-of-30 shots (.433), but just 2-of-11 threes (.182), while going 2-of-4 at the free throw line. The Jayhawks outproduced the Huskers 22-16 on the glass, while both teams committed six first-half turnovers.