This was a performance that I could imagine from the Huskers. They have shown that they could be this team (lockdown defense and in control of the pace) several times this season.
After the last game at Minnesota, where Nebraska looked sleepy and unsure of the plan, I did not have a lot of confidence we’d see this big of a turnaround.
I’m happy that the team did.
The Huskers got off to a hot start and played great defense to keep Michigan off balance. Nebraska led 6-0 after two minutes. Darian White is playing one of her best games as a Husker with some decisive offense and stellar defense. Kendall Moriarty came off the bench and hit a three within 13 seconds. The Husker lead was 12-3 at the media timeout.
Nebraska’s run wasn’t done there as the defense kept the Wolverines out of the basket for over six minutes (17-3 Neb). Michigan got somewhat back on track and scored five points to end the quarter.
Nebraska 17 Michigan 8
It took a minute for either team to score, but then both teams hit in quick order (19-10 Neb). The Husker defense is stifling as three minutes passed before the Wolverines could score again. In that stretch, the Huskers scored four of their own (23-10 Neb). Michigan continued to chop wood and the score was 24-15 at the media timeout.
Michigan’s starters are collecting fouls with three of them having two apiece. Both teams were cold out of the timeout and no one scored for two minutes. As usual, Markowski and Shelley led the way for the Huskers to close out the half.
Nebraska 28 Michigan 19
Michigan got off to a good start as they cut into the Husker lead and closed within four (28-24 Neb). Natalie Potts broke the run and followed that with another basket (32-24 Neb). Alexis Markowski got called for her third foul and was replaced by Anni Stewart. One of Michigan’s stars, Phelia, picked up her third as well. Two Shelley free throws took us to the media timeout (34-26 Neb) with two Wolverine free throws pending.
Michigan is really working hard on a full court press but Nebraska scouted it well and has handled it thus far. Jess Petrie gained a possession for Nebraska with a smart play - knocking the ball out on a player in yellow.
Kendall Moriarty is very offense-minded tonight and collected another score (36-30 Neb). Callin Hake forayed into the trees for a late shot clock jumper (38-30 Neb). Okay, maybe Moriarty is still the stalwart defender too as she grabbed a steal that set up a layup by White (40-30 Neb). Nebraska wasn’t done with the run as Petrie got in on the scoring. She was fouled but missed the free throw (42-30 Neb). That foul was #3 on Wolverine starter Williams. A Michigan free throw, Moriarty layup (she is now in double figure scoring), and Potts free throws ended the quarter. Michigan’s Williams picked up her fourth foul. That hurts Michigan as she is the only one that matches up well against Markowski.
Nebraska 46 Michigan 31
Markowski went to work immediately for the Huskers and then the Wolverines got an old fashioned three point play (48-34 Neb). More Markowski amazing-ness ensues (yawn*). Natalie Potts collected her 10th rebound and continues to make good plays that don’t always (but usually do) show up on the stat sheet.
*No, there is not any yawning by this author when Markowski has the ball
The scoring started to click faster and the attention on Markowski is leading to Potts heroics (53-36 Neb). Potts now has a double double and is well on her way to her 6th B1G Freshman of the Week award. There are six minutes left to play. Michigan went on a mini-run, scoring four points (53-40 Neb) at the media timeout.
Markowski is back in the game, and guess what? Yep, more points for Nebraska. She has scored in double figures in every game this season. I think you refer to that as “consistent” (55-40 Neb). There are three minutes left.
The Huskers are trying to use clock, but tried too hard and committed a shot clock violation.
Darian White THREE POINTER!! (58-40 Neb) at 2:09.
Nebraska extended the lead to 20 on two occasions as the clock wound under a minute (62-42 Neb).
Markowski is making a last ditch effort for the double double as she collects a couple of offensive rebounds (she missed two shots) within a few seconds. She’s up to seven rebounds but only has 19 seconds left...
A lengthy review ensued to determine if Nebraska committed a shot clock violation and if there was a flagrant/technical foul on Markowski (a Michigan player went down with a bloody nose). The review went against Nebraska on both counts, but it really didn’t matter anymore.
Final. Nebraska 62 Michigan 43
Stats and Thoughts
Nebraska’s defense was ON POINT tonight. Michigan is generally a team that can score points and holding them to 43 is an accomplishment.
Four Huskers scored in double figures tonight. Darian White and Natalie Potts had 13, Moriarty 11 and Markowski 10. White was a scoring maching at Montana State, but has been asked to be more of a facilitator as a Husker. She has embraced that role, but it is fun to see her break out the way she did tonight. It will only complicate the scouting report for future opponents.
Potts grabbed 10 rebounds and Shelley seven. Shelley also had six assists.
In a defensive struggle, you expect some ugly shooting statistics and these teams obliged. Nebraska hit 39% from the field and 19% from the three point line. Michigan was at 33/27% respectively.
Nebraska dominated the boards 46-28 and won the turnover battle 18-15.
Nebraska travels to the east coast to face Penn State in a Sunday game. Tipoff will be at noon (central).