Huskers Fall to Gophers, 76-71
Lincoln - Nebraska went cold late in the second half and Minnesota connected on a season-high 15 three-pointers as the Husker women's basketball team dropped a 76-71 decision to the visiting Golden Gophers on Tuesday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Sam Haiby led Nebraska with her third consecutive double-double by scoring a game-high 25 points to go along with a career-high-tying 12 rebounds, but it was not enough to prevent the Huskers from suffering their first home loss of the season. NU dropped to 7-5 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten, while Minnesota improved to 3-7 and 2-6 in the conference.
Ashley Scoggin added a career-high-tying 16 points for the Husker backcourt, including four three-pointers. Scoggin's final three came with 8:48 left in the third quarter after Nebraska opened the game 7-for-13 from long range in the first half. But the Big Red did not knock down another triple until Haiby's second three of the game with 2.7 seconds left. By that point, Minnesota had control of the outcome.
The Huskers led 61-59 heading to the fourth quarter and built the lead to 64-59 after a pair of Haiby free throws with 7:09 left. However, at that point, Nebraska had gone six minutes without a field goal. The score remained 64-59 until Gadiva Hubbard scored Minnesota's first points of the fourth quarter on a three with 6:01 left. It was the first of three threes for Hubbard in the fourth, as she scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the final period.
Jasmine Powell, who added 15 points and five assists for Minnesota, then scored a minute later to tie the game at 64 with five minutes left. A Hubbard three with 4:07 left gave the Gophers their biggest lead of the game at the time at 67-64, before Whitney Brown finally ended Nebraska's field goal drought at nearly 10-and-a-half minutes on her layup with 2:50 left to cut the margin to 67-66. Hubbard hit 1-of-2 free throws with just over 1:30 left, before Haiby tied the score at 68 with 1:08 remaining.
The Huskers had plenty of opportunities in the fourth quarter but were unable to cash in, going just 3-for-21 from the field, including 1-for-9 from three-point range in the period. By comparison, Minnesota attempted just 11 shots in the fourth quarter, but hit four. Hubbard kept hitting, connecting on her third and final three of the period with 51 seconds left to put the Golden Gophers up 71-68. Haiby tried to answer with a three of her own at the other end, but it hit back iron and Sara Scalia, who finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and a game-high six assists cleared the rebound.
Nebraska sent Hubbard to the line with 26.7 seconds left and she hit both free throws to extend the margin to 73-68. The lead grew to six at 74-68, before Haiby's three for NU's final points of the game.
The Huskers finished the game at just 38.5 percent shooting (25-65), including just 8-for-33 in the second half. The Big Red finished at 39.1 percent (9-23) from three. Minnesota was nearly identical from the field overall at 38.7 percent (24-62), but Minnesota's 15-of-32 effort from three-point range was the difference. Over the three previous games for Nebraska, all against ranked opponents, the Huskers held the opposition to a combined 15-for-54 from three-point range. The Gophers sealed the win by going 13-for-16 at the line, including 5-for-7 in the fourth quarter, while NU went 12-for-18 at the stripe.
Nebraska won the battle of the boards 42-40, but Minnesota outscored the Huskers 14-10 in second-chance points. Both teams committed just seven turnovers in the game.
In an entertaining first half, Nebraska jumped to a 20-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, before Minnesota erupted with 29 second-quarter points. Offensive rebounding fueled the Gopher outburst in the second, as Minnesota grabbed nine offensive boards in the quarter and turned them into 12 second-chance points after getting no second-chance points in the first quarter. Despite the second-quarter scoring eruption by the Gophers, which was the highest output in a quarter against the Huskers this season, Nebraska still took a 42-39 lead to the locker room thanks to back-to-back three-pointers by Scoggin in the final 1:30 of the half.
Scoggin hit three three-pointers in the half and led the Huskers with 11 points in the opening 20 minutes. Haiby led NU with 10 points - all in the first quarter - before picking up her second foul early in the quarter. Freshman Ruby Porter also stepped up with seven first-half points starting for the second straight game in place of Isabelle Bourne who sat out with an ankle injury.
Scalia helped Minnesota rally with three three-pointers in the second quarter and finished the half with 11 points and four assists. Powell finished the half with six points - all in the first quarter - and did not play in the second quarter when Minnesota made its run to pull within a possession. Minnesota hit 13-of-36 shots, including 8-of-21 threes. The Gophers also out-rebounded Nebraska 21-18 in the half, including 11 big offensive rebounds to help close the gap.
Despite the shaky end to the first half for Nebraska, the Huskers opened the second half on a 9-3 surge to regain a 51-42 lead with 7:12 left, but Minnesota answered with five quick points and Nebraska hit just one field goal over the next 14:22. NU's lone field goal during that span came from Kate Cain, who finished with seven points, eight rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action next week when the Huskers take on Illinois on Monday, Jan. 25. Tip-off in Champaign is set for 7 p.m. (CT) with live telecast by the Big Ten Network and live radio coverage by the Husker Sports Network.