Lincoln – Sam Haiby scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead five Huskers in double figures as the Nebraska women’s basketball team handed No. 5 Indiana a 72-55 loss at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Monday night.
Jaz Shelley matched Haiby for the team scoring lead with 14 points of her own, including a huge fourth-quarter three-pointer that gave Indiana its largest deficit of the season at 65-48 with 3:53 left. Shelley added two free throws 30 seconds later after a technical foul on Indiana Coach Teri Moren, before Haiby finished at the rim to put the Big Red up 69-48 with three minutes left.
The Huskers (19-6, 8-6 Big Ten) held Indiana without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter and used a 17-0 run capped by Haiby’s layup to put the Big Ten-leading Hoosiers away. Indiana slipped to 18-4 and 10-2 in the Big Ten with the loss. Nebraska entered the game at No. 20 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, while Indiana began the day at No. 15 in the NET.
Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year candidate Alexis Markowski continued her powerful play inside with her fifth double-double of the season, contributing 10 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds.
Fellow freshman and Nebraska native Allison Weidner added 11 points off the bench, including eight points in the first half to help the Huskers take a 34-26 halftime lead. Third-year sophomore Isabelle Bourne rounded out the five Huskers in double figures with 10 points and four boards.
Bella Cravens also contributed big minutes with seven points and six rebounds off the bench, while Ashley Scoggin contributed six points on a pair of third-quarter threes to give Nebraska its second win over a top-10 this season and its first win over a top-five foe since defeating No. 5 LSU (77-63) on Dec. 20, 2009 at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska’s win over No. 5 Indiana joined a 79-58 pounding of No. 8 Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Jan. 4, giving the Huskers their 12th win over a top-10 opponent in program history, and their 11th since 2003-04. It marked just the second time in school history that a Big Red team had defeated more than one top-10 team in the same season, joining 2009-10 when the Big 12 Champion Huskers notched a trio of top-10 victories.
NU’s defense held Indiana to just eight points in the second quarter and eight points in the fourth, as the Huskers limited Indiana to just 31.9 percent (23-72) from the field, including 2-for-23 (.087) from three-point range. Indiana added 7-of-13 free throws – all in the second half – but got outworked on the glass by Nebraska, 48-40. IU did win the turnover battle, 16-11.
Nebraska answered with 45.9 percent (28-61) shooting, including 7-of-15 three-pointers. NU’s 15 three-point attempts were a season low, and the Huskers also hit a season-low 42.9 percent (9-21) at the free throw line.
Nebraska led 34-26 at the half by closing the second quarter on an 8-0 run capped by a Shelley three-pointer with 33 seconds left. It was the biggest lead for either team in the half after Indiana jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game.
NU answered with an 8-0 run to take a 10-8 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter before the two teams went to the second quarter tied, 18-18. The Huskers opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run that included a Shelley layup and a Bourne three-pointer. The Hoosiers rallied to tied the game at 24 and 26, before the Huskers shut out IU for the final 4:28 of the half.
Nebraska hit 45.2 percent (14-31) of its first-half shots, including 2-of-5 threes, but went just 4-of-11 (.364) at the free throw line. The Husker defense was outstanding, holding Indiana to just 36.1 percent (13-36) in the first half, including 0-for-10 from long range. The Hoosiers did not shoot a free throw. The Huskers out-worked the Hoosiers on the glass, 27-15, to help overcome Indiana’s 7-3 edge in turnovers.
Weidner led NU in the first half with eight points, while Bourne added seven points. Shelley, Markowski and Cravens all pitched in five first-half points, while Haiby contributed four points.
The Huskers immediately pushed the margin to 10 for the first time with a Markowski power move at the rim and extended the lead to 12 after back-to-back threes by Scoggin made it 42-30 with 7:51 left in the third. NU maintained a double-digit lead at 50-39 after a Weidner three with 4:44 left, but Indiana close the third quarter strong, cutting the margin to 52-47.
Berger opened the fourth by hitting 1-of-2 free throws to trim the margin to 52-48, but then Haiby took over, scoring on three driving layups over the next four-plus minutes to give NU its biggest lead at the time, 62-48.
But the Big Red was far from done, as Shelley nailed a long three after Nicole Cardano-Hillary draped herself on Shelley and then flopped to the floor with 3:53 left. The shot sent the more than 4,000 Husker fans into a frenzy. Haiby capped the 17-0 NU run 51 seconds later with another driving layup.
All-American Grace Berger led Indiana with a game-high 20 points, including a pair of fourth-quarter field goals, while Aleksa Gulbe and Cardano-Hillary added 10 points apiece for the Hoosiers.
Nebraska avenged an earlier 72-65 loss at Indiana (Jan. 13), when Haiby suffered a shoulder injury in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and could not continue. The Huskers also played that game without starting post Bella Cravens. Despite the limitations, NU trailed just 68-65 in Bloomington with 24 seconds left.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action on Thursday when the Huskers travel to University Park to take on Penn State. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Lady Lions is set for 6 p.m. (CT)