Huskers Outlast Wildcats for Big Ten Road Win, 78-66
Evanston, Ill. - Isabelle Bourne scored 18 points to lead four Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska built a 22-point second-half lead before holding on for a 78-66 win at Northwestern on Monday night.
Alexis Markowski notched her 11th double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Sam Haiby contributed 17 points and five rebounds to help the Huskers improve to 14-9 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten with their second straight win and their third Big Ten road victory of the year. Northwestern slipped to 8-15 overall and 1-11 in the league.
Jaz Shelley also crossed the 1,000-point career scoring mark by finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots.
Nebraska took a 22-point lead to the fourth quarter by getting back-to-back three-pointers from Kendall Moriarty and Haiby in the final 40 seconds to take a 56-34 edge to the final period. The Huskers went to the fourth 10-for-20 from three-point range - the 10th time this season that Nebraska hit double-digit threes in a game.
But Northwestern took Nebraska's hot long-range shooting out of the equation in the final period, forcing 11 turnovers with the Wildcats' Blizzard pressure defense. But the Cats also fouled relentlessly and the Huskers answered the bell. The Big Red hit 18-of-25 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, including 12 consecutive attempts at the stripe in the final 2:20 to seal the victory.
For the game, Nebraska hit 41.2 percent (21-51) of its shots from the field, while holding Northwestern to just 31.8 percent (21-66). The Huskers hit 10-of-21 threes (.476), while holding the Wildcats to 30 percent (6-20). The Big Red also hit a season-high 26 free throws on a season-best 34 attempts (.765), while Northwestern went 18-of-26 (.692) at the line.
Nebraska dominated the glass, 49-34, to compensate for losing the the turnover battle , 24-11.
Paige Mott led Northwestern with 13 points, while Sydney Wood and Courtney Shaw each contributed 12 points for the Wildcats.
Nebraska got off of to a great start for the second straight game, building a pair of 17-point leads in the first half against the Wildcats. Bourne (9) and Annika Stewart (8) combined for 17 first-quarter points, as the Huskers put together their first 30-point quarter since the fourth period in a win at No. 20 Maryland on Dec. 4. The Huskers hit six first-quarter threes, including a pair from Stewart, who capped a 5-0 run to end the quarter with a long three at the buzzer to put the Big Red up 30-15 heading to the second quarter.
The second quarter was a whole different animal for both teams. Bourne reached double figures in points with a layup with 8:48 left in the half, but the Huskers then went scoreless for more than five minutes before a pair of Haiby free throws with 3:31 left. But Nebraska's defense remained solid, and held the Wildcats to just 10 second-quarter points and a Shelley three-pointer to close the quarter sent the Huskers to halftime with a 37-25 lead.
Nebraska hit 12-of-32 (.375) first-half shots, including 7-of-12 threes (.583). The Huskers also went 4-for-4 at the free throw line and won the battle of the boards, 24-18. The Big Red defense held Northwestern to 9-for-31 (.290) shooting, including 5-of-13 threes (.385), while the Cats went 2-for-4 at the line. Northwestern won the first-half turnover fight 8-7.
Bourne led Nebraska with 11 points and five rebounds in the first half, while Markowski added five points and five boards despite missing much of the second quarter with foul trouble, while Shelley managed three points and seven assists. Caleigh Walsh led Northwestern with six first-half points on a pair of three-pointers.
The Huskers return to Big Ten Conference home action on Thursday, when the Big Red take on Illinois. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Fighting Illini is set for 7 p.m., with tickets available now at Huskers.com. LIve video will be provided by B1G+, while free live audio is available through the Huskers Radio Network on Huskers.com and the Huskers App.