ANN ARBOR, MI–(NU Athletics Feb. 6)–Alexis Markowski scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead a tough, total team effort by the Huskers to fight their way to a 65-59 women’s basketball victory over Michigan at Crisler Arena on Tuesday night.
Playing on the road on short rest after their toughest loss of the season, the Huskers battled their way to a Big Ten win despite playing without starting point guard Darian White. The Huskers were also working to overcome several nagging injuries to Jaz Shelley, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds and four steals. She also had several key steals late in the game to hold Michigan to just one field goal in the final four minutes, although she was officially credited with no steals.
Freshman Natalie Potts pitched in 12 points, while fellow freshman Jessica Petrie pitched in seven big points off the bench, including a strong post move with 4:20 left to give Nebraska its biggest lead of the game at 58-53.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 15-8 overall and 7-5 in the Big Ten, while dropping Michigan to 15-9 and 6-6 in the league. The Huskers also completed the two-game season series sweep of the Wolverines, after Nebraska defeated Michigan 62-43 in Lincoln (Jan. 17).
After trailing 15-8 at the end of the first quarter, the Huskers fell behind 20-11 midway through the second quarter. Maddie Krull then sparked the Huskers with their first three-pointer with 6:54 left in the second after Nebraska missed its first seven threes on the road. Shelley then boosted the Big Red with another three-pointer 22 seconds later.
The Huskers traded baskets with the Wolverines the rest of the half, capped by Logan Nissley’s three-point with 55 seconds left in the half to cut Michigan’s lead to 29-28 at halftime.
Markowski gave the Huskers their first lead of the night on their opening possession of the second half with her layup 20 seconds into the third period. Potts then scored five straight points, including a three-pointer to put the Huskers up 35-32. A Shelley three-pointer and another Markowski bucket extended the margin to two possessions for the first time for the Big Red at 40-36.
Nebraska closed the third quarter with a 46-43 lead after three free throws from Nissley and a traditional three-point play from Nissley.
Michigan tied the game immediately with a three-pointer by Jordan Hobbs, who scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter. three minutes later, Hobbs gave Michigan the lead back at 50-48 with 7:10 remaining, before Shelley scored and was fouled with 6:51 left.
Markowski then contributed one of the game’s biggest plays with a tip-in putback of Shelley’s free throw miss to complete a four-point possession and give the Huskers a 52-50 lead.
The Huskers led the rest of the way with big defensive plays and a pair of free throws from Krull in the final minute. Markowski then got another huge offensive rebound on a missed free throw to prevent any hopes of a Michigan miracle.
Nebraska finished at 46.9 percent (23-49) from the field, including 5-of-19 (.263) from three-point range. The Huskers also went 14-of-23 (.609) at the free throw line. Nebraska lost the battle of the boards 35-31, but won the turnover fight, 15-14, despite trailing in that category at the half.
The Huskers held Michigan to just 38.7 percent shooting (24-62), including 25 percent (5-20) from long range. Nebraska also held Michigan to just 6-of-10 free throws. Cameron Williams gave Michigan 14 points off the bench, while Lauren Hansen (11) and Laila Phelia (10) rounded out four Wolverines in double figures.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten home action against No. 2 Iowa on Sunday in front of a sold-out crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tip-off between the Huskers and Hawkeyes is set for Noon (CT) with live national television coverage by FOX.