Penn State shuts down the Huskers
Lincoln. — Lindsey Moore led three Huskers in double figures with 16, but Penn State's big second half led the Lady Lions to a 93-73 win over the No. 15 Nebraska women's basketball team Sunday at the Devaney Center.
Penn State, which was the preseason pick to win the Big Ten and entered the game ranked No. 25 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, erupted for 55 second-half points to overcome a 44-38 halftime deficit to the Huskers. Penn State improved to 13-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten.
Nebraska, which allowed more points in the second half to the Lady Lions than it had been allowing per game at home (48) through its first eight home games this season, slipped to 15-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten. The loss snapped Nebraska's nine-game winning streak - which tied for the second-longest streak in school history.
Moore led the Huskers with 16 points, while freshman forward Emily Cady added 15 points and sophomore Jordan Hooper pitched in 13 points and eight rebounds. All nine Huskers who played in the game found the scoring column, including eight Huskers who scored in the first half. Kaitlyn Burke contributed eight points, while Tear'a Laudermill added seven for NU.
The Huskers jumped to a 24-13 lead out of the gate against Penn State, but the Lady Lions fought back to tie the game at 38 late in the first half. NU responded with the final six points of the half to take a 44-38 lead into the locker room at the break.
But the second half was all Penn State. The Lady Lions scored on their first three possessions in the opening 1:30 to tie the game at 46 on Alex Bentley's three-point play. The junior point guard carried PSU with 16 points in the first half and finished with 23 for the game.
Penn State took the lead for good on a pair of Mia Nickson free throws with 17:40 left to make it 50-48. Nickson was one of five Lady Lions in double figures with 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
PSU pushed the lead to double digits for the first time at 64-53 on Maggie Lucas' second three of the second half with 13:30 left. Lucas finished with a game-high 24 points while adding six boards. She hit 4-of-6 threes for the game.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, Penn State hit 13 field goals, while holding the Huskers to just three made baskets from the field. Nebraska was still scoring, hitting 10-of-12 free throws during the stretch, but not nearly at the same clip as the explosive Penn State attack.
Moore's three-pointer with 9:21 left cut Penn State's lead to 72-63, but Nebraska would get no closer the rest of the way as Lady Lions just kept scoring. Nikki Greene scored 10 points in the final 10:06 for PSU. Greene scored all 12 of her points for the game in the second half, while adding eight rebounds.
Zhaque Gray, who went scoreless in the first meeting between the two teams, rounded out the five Lady Lions in double figures with 16 points and six rebounds.
Penn State shot a blistering 52.9 percent from the field, including 60.6 percent (20-33) in the second half. The Lady Lions hit 54.5 percent (6-11) of their three-point tries and an outstanding 15-of-17 free throws. PSU also outrebounded NU, 48-30, including 28-11 in the second half.
Both teams took excellent care of the basketball, as Nebraska committed just 11 turnovers after turning it over 26 times in a win at Penn State on Dec. 30. PSU turned it over just 13 times in Lincoln on Sunday, including just five in the second half.
Nebraska hit 50 percent (17-34) of its shots in the first half, but just 24.1 percent (7-29) in the second half. NU was 7-20 from three-point range but just 2-of-11 after halftime. NU went 22-of-30 (73.3 percent) at the free throw line.
The Huskers return to Big Ten road action at No. 11 Ohio State on Thursday in Columbus. It will be NU's fourth road game in six Big Ten contests. Tip time is set for 5 p.m., with live television coverage on the Big Ten Network.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.