HUSKER WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Nebraska Rallies Back To Beat Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS–(NU Athletics Dec. 6)–Sam Haiby scored 10 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter to help Nebraska rally from a four-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 70-67 women’s basketball win at Minnesota on Monday night at Williams Arena.

With the victory, Nebraska improved to 9-0 and opened Big Ten play with a road win in an arena the Huskers had not won in since Dec. 31, 2017. It was just NU’s third all-time win over the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, although NU improved its all-time record against Minnesota to 16-12.

After leading by 13 points early in the second quarter, the Huskers watched the Gophers rally to take a 61-57 lead with just over four minutes left in the game.

Bella Cravens, who finished with a team and season-high 15 points, hit her final field goal with 3:40 left to cut the lead to 61-59, before Haiby hit a pair of free throws with 3:11 to tie the game at 61.

Kadi Sissoko then scored at the rim to give the lead back to the Gophers, who slipped to 6-5 with the loss. Cravens responded by knocking down 1-of-2 free throws with 2:47 left.

Then Haiby took over. The 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., drove for a layup to give the Big Red the lead back at 64-63. She scored again at the rim with 1:13 left to extend the lead to 66-63 to force Minnesota’s final timeout.

Sissoko quickly scored again to make it 66-65 with one minute left, but another Haiby bucket with 45 seconds left put Nebraska up 68-65. The Huskers then got a huge defensive stop, and Ashley Scoggin sank a pair of free throws with 11.3 seconds left to seal the victory. Scoggin finished with seven points.

Sissoko ended the night with a game- and career-high 25 points for Minnesota on 10-of-19 shooting. Sara Scalia added 20 points, including eight of Minnesota’s first 10 points to open the fourth quarter and give Minnesota its first lead at 59-57 with 4:57 left, since the Gophers scored on their opening possession of the game to take a momentary 2-0 advantage. No other Gopher managed double figures.

Nebraska’s Jaz Shelley continued her outstanding play with 15 points while adding five assists and four rebounds. The 5-9 sophomore from Moe, Australia helped the Huskers to a 13-point lead early in the second quarter with eight first-half points, including a pair of first-quarter threes. Nebraska led 25-14 at the end of the first, and a Cravens layup to open the second quarter pushed NU to its biggest margin of the night at 13 before Minnesota rallied.

For the game, Nebraska hit 26-of-63 shots (.413), but just 4-of-19 three-pointers (.211). The Huskers also knocked down 14-of-18 free throws (.778) in the game after missing their first three attempts in the first quarter. NU got out-rebounded by Minnesota, 38-32, but answered by winning the turnover battle, 18-12. The Huskers also outscored the Gophers 21-14 off those turnovers while also outscoring Minnesota 12-10 in second-chance points.

Minnesota hit 25-of-57 field goals (.439), including 5-of-15 three-pointers (.333). The Gophers also connected on 12-of-14 free throws (.857).

The Huskers maintained a nine-point lead at 33-24 after a Cravens bucket with 3:22 left in the half, but the Golden Gophers shut out Nebraska the rest of the half and finished with a 7-0 run including the final five points from Sara Scalia. Minnesota trailed just 33-31 at the half thanks to 10 points apiece from Scalia and Sissoko in the first 20 minutes.

Cravens and Bourne each finished the first half with six points. Bourne scored six of NU’s first eight points in the game before getting whistled for her second foul with 5:51 left in the opening period. Bourne closed the night with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Nebraska rebuilt its lead to eight points in the first two minutes of the second half with six straight points including back-to-back breakaway layups by Cravens. The Big Red pushed the margin to 10, the last time at 46-36, before Sissoko carried the Gophers the rest of the third. Sissoko put up 13 points on her own in the period, but Nebraska still had a 50-49 lead entering the fourth.

The Huskers return home for the first time in three weeks when Nebraska plays host to Indiana State on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Sycamores is set for 1 p.m.