UNIVERSITY PARK, PA–(NU Athletics Jan. 21)–Nebraska cut a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to five points with 2:26 left, but the Huskers were unable to complete the comeback in an 82-73 women’s basketball loss to Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday afternoon.
Alexis Markowski produced a huge double-double with 16 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, but Nebraska slipped to 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten, while Penn State improved to 13-5 and 4-3 in the conference.
Jaz Shelley added 12 points for Big Red, including nine in the fourth quarter on a pair of threes and a traditional three-point play in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter to fuel Nebraska’s late rally. She also recorded a career-high six steals in the game.
Darian White also contributed 12 points for her second straight double-figure scoring effort, including 10 points in the fourth quarter. Kendall Moriarty also pitched in a fourth-quarter spark with six points on 3-for-3 shooting to finish with seven for the game.
Despite jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead with all the scoring from Markowski, Nebraska headed to the second quarter tied at 12. Penn State took control in the second quarter with eight points from Ashley Owusu, who made her first start in her third game as a Lady Lion. Owusu finished with a game-high 20 points.
Shay Ciezki, who led Penn State with 10 points in the first half, added five points in the second quarter including a three-pointer at the buzzer, to help Penn State take a 36-26 lead to halftime. Ciezki finished with 17 points on 3-of-6 three-point shooting and a 6-for-6 effort at the free throw line.
Leilani Kapinus added 13 points, including nine in the third quarter to help Penn State take its biggest lead of the day at 21 late in the period.
The Huskers went to the fourth down 64-45 before Ali Brigham gave the Lady Lions their biggest lead at 66-45 in the open moments of the final period. She finished with seven points.
Nebraska responded with a layup by Moriarty, a three-pointer by White and a three-point play from Shelley with 7:12 left to show signs of life. PSU got three points at the free throw line before back-to-back threes by Shelley and Annika Stewart, who finished with seven points, and a layup by Moriarty capped another 8-0 NU run to trim the margin to 69-61 with 3:50 left.
After a pair of Ciezki free throws, Shelley hit another three and Moriarty scored on another layup and was fouled to cut the margin to 71-66 with 2:26 left. Moriarty was unable to connect on the free throw, and Penn State made the plays down the stretch to secure the win.
For the game, the Huskers hit just 35.8 percent (25-68) of their shots from the field, including 9-of-29 three-pointers (.310). NU also hit 14-of-20 free throws. Nebraska won the battle of the boards 44-37, including a plus-11 margin in the second half. PSU was plus-four in turnovers, 18-14.
Penn State, which is one of the nation’s leaders in team field goal percentage, finished at 46.2 percent (29-62), including 28.0 percent (7-25) from long range. The Lady Lions connected on 17-of-22 free throws.
Nebraska will enjoy the midweek off before returning to Big Ten road action at No. 2 Iowa on Saturday. Tip-off between the Huskers and Hawkeyes in Iowa City is set for 1 p.m. (CT) with live television coverage by BTN.