LAWRENCE, Kan.–(NU Athletics Dec. 20)–Alexis Markowski produced her seventh double-double of the year with game highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds, but it was not enough to overcome a big first half from Kansas in Nebraska’s 69-52 women’s basketball loss at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.
With the setback, Nebraska closed non-conference play with a 9-3 overall record including a 1-0 start to Big Ten play, while Kansas improved to 7-4 on the season.
Markowski, whose production came against fellow Lisa Leslie award candidate Taiyanna Jackson, was the only Husker to score in double figures as Nebraska struggled through its worst offensive performance of the season.
The Huskers shot just 28.6 percent (18-63) from the field, including 5-for-24 (.208) from three-point range. Nebraska did outwork the Jayhawks on the glass, 43-36, including 19 offensive rebounds. The Big Red was plus-15 on the glass in the second half alone, while also winning the turnover battle, 15-14, for the game.
Kansas used a big second quarter to outscore Nebraska 21-8 in the period and build a 32-17 halftime lead. The Huskers struggled offensively against a tenacious Jayhawk defense in the first 20 minutes. Nebraska entered the contest averaging 81 points per game but managed just 17 in the first half. KU held Nebraska to just 7-for-25 (.280) shooting in the half, including 3-for-12 from behind the arc.
After trailing 11-9 after one quarter an Annika Stewarter three-pointer for the Huskers tied the game at 14 early in the second. KU then took control with an 11-0 run. The Jayhawks closed the half on an 18-3 surge, as the Big Red got only a Maddie Krull three-pointer the rest of the half.
Markowski led Nebraska with four points and six rebounds in the half, but she was strapped with foul trouble, picking up her third foul midway through the second quarter.
Jackson led KU with six points and six boards in the half, but most of the second-quarter surge for the Jayhawks came with Jackson off the floor. Zakiyah Franklin added six first-half points on a pair of threes, while Holly Kersgieter added five points and guards Wyvette Mayberry and S’Mya Nichols both pitched in four points.
In the half, KU hit 13-of-31 shots (.419), including 4-of-11 threes. Kansas won the battle of the boards 22-14 in the first 20 minutes.
Nebraska came out fighting in the second half, getting the first four points from Natalie Potts and Markowski to trim the margin to 32-21. Another Markowski basket cut the margin to 10 at 35-25 with 6:53 left in the third. The lead remained at 10 points at 42-32, but the Huskers were never able to pull within single digits.
Potts finished with six points and four rebounds, while Krull, Jaz Shelley and Callin Hake each managed five points on the night.
Jackson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Franklin led the Jayhawks with 16 points. Nichols added 13 points, while Mayberry contributed a dozen to put four in double figures for the beaks in blue.
KU hit 43.6 percent (24-55) of its shots for the game, including 6-for-21 threes (.286), while hitting 15-of-17 free throws.
Nebraska will take 10 days off from competition before returning to Big Ten home action against Maryland on New Year’s Eve. Tip-off between the Huskers and Terrapins at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday, Dec. 31 is set for 1:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network.