Lincoln – Alexis Markowski produced her fifth double-double of the season and Maggie Mendelson made a strong impression in her Nebraska women’s basketball debut, as the Huskers pulled away from Wyoming in a 66-39 win at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Markowski finished with game highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds while notching three blocks to power the Huskers. The 6-3 center out of Lincoln Pius X High School scored Nebraska’s first seven points of the game, including the first of her four three-pointers on the day to help the Huskers improve to 9-3 overall while dropping the Cowgirls to 6-4.
Nebraska’s victory marked the 500th home win in the history of the program.
Mendelson, a 6-5 true freshman from North Ogden, Utah who just finished up her first season with the nationally ranked Nebraska volleyball team, capped her first week of basketball practice with nine points, three rebounds and three blocks of her own. She finished 2-of-2 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line in her nine minutes of action.
Sophomore Allison Weidner added another strong performance with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, while junior Jaz Shelley added nine points, a season-high seven rebounds and a game-high five assists for the Big Red.
After opening with a 7-0 run, the Huskers maintained a 14-11 edge at the end of the first quarter. Nebraska added a 9-0 run to open the second quarter with five points from Shelley, two from Markowski and the first two points of Mendelson’s career to give the Huskers their biggest lead of the half at 23-11 with 6:07 left.
Wyoming responded to outscore NU 9-4 in the final five-plus minutes of the half and cut the margin to 27-20 at halftime.
Markowski’s second three-pointer of the game pushed Nebraska’s lead back to double digits at 34-24 with 6:16 left in the third, before Tommi Olson and 2018 Nebraska High School Player of the Year Quinn Weidemann buried back-to-back threes in a 25-second span to trim NU’s lead to 34-30 with 5:30 left in the third. Weidemann, an Omaha Westside grad, finished with 10 points to lead the Cowgirls.
Nebraska then unleashed a major response with a traditional three-point play from Weidner and five straight points from Mendelson, who added a traditional three-point play of her own, quickly extending the Husker margin back to 12 points one minute later. The Huskers maintained their 12-point lead at 46-34 heading to the fourth quarter.
Markowski then fueled an 8-0 run to open the fourth with a pair of three-pointers around a Shelley layup. Wiedemann stopped the run with a pair of free throws, before Nebraska responded with a 12-0 run capped by Mendelson’s final bucket of the game to put the Huskers up by 30 at 66-36.
Grace Moyers closed the scoring with a long three-pointer in the closing seconds for Wyoming’s only field goal of the final period.
Nine Huskers found the scoring column on the day, including four points from Sam Haiby. The graduate guard played in just her second game of the year (Tarleton, Nov. 22) and scored her first points of the season. She added two rebounds and an assist as she continues to make her way back from injury.
The return of Haiby and the debut of Mendelson gave Nebraska 10 active players for the first time in four games.
As a team, Nebraska hit 50 percent (24-48) of its shots from the field including 5-of-15 three-pointers. The Huskers were also a solid 13-of-17 (.765) from the free throw line and won the battle of the boards over Wyoming, 37-25. NU also forced 21 turnovers by the Cowgirls and turned the miscues into 25 points.
The Huskers held Wyoming to just 30.8 percent (16-52) shooting from the floor, including 5-of-21 (.238) from long range. The Cowgirls were just 2-of-4 from the free throw line. They did force 20 turnovers by the Huskers but were only able to turn those mistakes into 10 points.
Nebraska returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 21, when the Huskers host unbeaten and No. 22 Kansas at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tip-off with the Jayhawks is set for 6 p.m. (CT)