Three overtimes later, Huskers share Big Ten lead with win over Purdue
West Lafayette, Ind. — No. 16 Nebraska produced one of the most thrilling women's basketball victories in school history with a 93-89 win over No. 15 Purdue at Mackey Arena on Thursday night.
With the first road triple-overtime win in school history, the Huskers pulled into a tie for first place with the Boilermakers at 8-2 in the Big Ten, while improving to 19-3 overall. Purdue slipped to 18-5 overall and 8-2 in the conference with its second straight loss.
Nebraska notched its fourth straight win while earning its fifth Big Ten road win of the year. It was also NU's first-ever win in its first meeting in history against Purdue.
Sophomore Jordan Hooper led Nebraska with a game-high 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and a career-high matching three blocked shots in a career-high 51 minutes for the Huskers. Hooper connected on five of Nebraska's 13 three-pointers on the night, as NU outscored the Boilermakers 39-12 from long range.
Junior point guard Lindsey Moore added 26 points, including eight in the third overtime to seal the win for the Huskers. Moore, who hit two huge threes, including a 32-footer as the shot clock was expiring early in the third overtime. Moore had hit just 3-of-29 three-pointers before connecting on her final two from long range on the night. She added seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Moore's final three-pointer of the night not only pushed NU's lead to 88-84 in the third overtime, it also made her the 27th player in Nebraska history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
While Hooper and Moore produced the biggest numbers, freshman Emily Cady hit the game's biggest shot. The 6-2 forward from Seward, Neb., connected on a 30-foot three-pointer from just to the right side of the top of the key off balance with a hand in her face as time expired in the second overtime to send the game to a third extra session.
Cady finished with her first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while adding a career-best seven assists. She added two steals and two blocked shots in a career-high 49 minutes.
Cady's miraculous three-pointer provided redemption after she missed the second of two free throws with four seconds left in regulation that could have secured a win for NU. Instead, the two teams went to the first overtime game for the Huskers in Big Ten Conference history tied at 59 after a monumental defensive struggle.
Cady scored all of her points after halftime, as did fellow freshman Tear'a Laudermill, who pitched in 10 points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in the second half against the Boilermakers before fouling out.
Lincoln native KK Houser led five Boilermakers in double figures with 15 points and six steals before fouling out in the third overtime. Alex Guyton fueled the Boilermakers second-half comeback with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Brittany Rayburn added 14 points, six boards and five assists.
The Huskers survived to win the game despite losing the turnover battle, 26-13, to the Boilermakers. NU also surrendered 25 offensive rebounds to Purdue. But Nebraska outshot the Boilermakers (42.5 percent to 37.0 percent), including a 27-point scoring margin from beyond the arc. NU also outscored Purdue 18-17 at the free throw line, although the Boilermakers hit 17-of-19 free throws.
The only two misses of the night for Purdue came from Rayburn in the second overtime. One of the nation's best free throw shooters at nearly 90 percent, Rayburn's front-end miss of a two-shot foul with 6.8 seconds left, allowed Cady's miracle three to save the Huskers.
Nebraska came ready to play in search of their fifth Big Ten road win jumping to a 26-14 lead on Hooper's third three-pointer of the half with 5:40 left in the first. Hooper finished the half with 14 points, while Moore and Burke both added 10 points to give the Huskers a 34-27 halftime lead.
The Huskers hit 6-of-13 three-point attempts in the first half, including a pair from Burke who produced just her third double-figure scoring performance of the season and her first in Big Ten Conference play. Moore added a three-pointer of her own and a traditional three-point play to help the Huskers shoot 59.1 percent from the field in the first half against the Big Ten's best field goal percentage defense.
Nebraska also won the first-half battle of the boards, 17-14, but lost the turnover battle, 13-7.
Guyton led Purdue off the bench in the opening period with eight points and four rebounds. While eight Boilermakers found the scoring column, Guyton was the only Purdue player to score more than four points, as the Boilermakers hit just 10-of-31 shots from the field, including just 1-of-5 threes. Purdue did go 6-for-6 at the line, while NU managed 2-of-3 shooting at the stripe.
The Huskers will take the weekend off from competition to prepare for their upcoming home game with Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 9. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Wolverines at the Devaney Center is set for 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available now at Huskers.com or by calling the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office during regular business hours at 1-800-8-BIG-RED.
Nebraska will be celebrating "Michigan Week" as the Husker men's basketball team will play host to the Michigan men on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Devaney Center. Fans with tickets from the men's game will be able to gain free general admission seating to the women's game on Thursday evening.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.