Lincoln – Alexis Markowski scored 20 of her game-high 23 points in the second half to help Nebraska build a 22-point lead on its way to an 81-66 women’s basketball win on Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Fellow freshman Allison Weidner scored all of her career-high 14 points in the first half to help the Huskers take a 35-23 halftime lead that Purdue was unable to cut to single digits the rest of the way. Nebraska improved to 15-4 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten with its second straight victory, while Purdue slipped to 13-8 overall and 4-6 in the conference.
Nebraska’s victory marked its 100th women’s basketball win inside Pinnacle Bank Arena since opening the building with a victory over UCLA on Nov. 8, 2013. The Huskers improved to 11-1 at home in 2021-22.
Isabelle Bourne added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Sam Haiby put four Huskers in double figures with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. Jaz Shelley also put together an impressive all-around effort with eight points and team highs of seven rebounds, six assists, three blocked shots and three steals.
After going just 1-for-6 from the field in the first half with the lone make coming on a three-pointer, Markowski hit 7-of-8 shots in the second half including two more threes. The four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week from Lincoln finished the day 8-of-14 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. In her six games as a starter, Markowski is a remarkable 12-for-15 from three-point land. She added a team-high seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block for the Big Red against the Boilermakers.
While Markowski carried Nebraska in the second half it was her fellow Nebraskan Weidner who carried NU to a first-half lead. Weidner scored 12 points in a seven-minute stretch to end the first quarter and start the second, combining with Bourne on an 18-2 NU outburst to take control of the game. The 5-10 guard from Humphrey, Neb., went 5-for-5 from the field in the first half, including a three-pointer, while adding a trio of free throws. She added five rebounds, an assist and a steal in the game.
Overall, Nebraska hit 50 percent (29-58) of its shots from the field, including a scorching 11-for-20 three-pointers (.550) against a Purdue team that entered the game as the Big Ten’s best three-point field goal percentage defense. The Huskers also hit 12-of-16 free throws (.750) and won the rebounding battle, 41-38.
The Huskers held Purdue to just 36.2 percent (25-69) shooting, including 10-of-31 threes (.323), while the Boilers hit just 6-of-13 free throws. Purdue did win the turnover battle, 18-13. Jayla Smith led the Boilermakers with a career-high 16 points off the bench, including 4-for-4 three-point shooting. Brooke Moore added 12 points off the bench, including a pair of early third-quarter three-pointers, while Cassidy Hardin pitched in 11 points on a trio of second-half threes.
Purdue shot to a 9-3 lead early, but Nebraska responded with a 16-2 surge to close the first quarter. Markowski started the surge with a three-pointer, before Bourne and Weidner combined for NU’s next 13 points off the bench to close the quarter with a 19-11 Nebraska lead.
Bourne buried a three to tie the game at 9-9 with 2:30 left in the period before Weidner scored the next seven points in 1:12 for the Big Red. Bourne then capped the quarter with a traditional three-point play with five seconds left.
Weidner kept the momentum building for NU to start the second quarter with five straight points to push the lead to 24-11 and cap a 21-2 outburst over a span of 6:18.
Purdue then ran off eight straight points after back-to-back threes by Smith to cut the margin to 24-19, before Haiby’s second three of the game reignited the Huskers. Shelley added back-to-back layups to cap a 7-0 NU run to extend the margin back to 12 points.
The Huskers went to the half with a 35-23 lead capped by a Weidner layup as time expired. Bourne and Haiby each added six first-half points for NU, while Shelley contributed four points, four rebounds and an assist.
Nebraska hit 13-of-27 (.481) shots from the field in the first half, including 5-of-8 three-pointers, while hitting all four of its free throw attempts. The Huskers held Purdue to just 27 percent (10-37) first-half shooting, including 3-of-15 three-pointers, and the Boilermakers missed both of their first-half free throw attempts. Both teams grabbed 21 first-half rebounds, while Purdue won the turnover battle, 9-7.
The Huskers continue their four-game Big Ten home stand on Tuesday when they play host to Rutgers. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Scarlet Knights at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m.,