Hoopers 18 boards power Huskers past Badgers
Lincoln — Jordan Hooper notched her 11th double-double of the year with 19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to power the No. 16 Nebraska women's basketball team to a 68-59 victory over Wisconsin Sunday at the Devaney Center.
With the victory, Nebraska notched its fourth 20-win campaign in the past six years. The Huskers improved to 20-6 overall and 9-5 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin slipped to 8-18 on the year and 4-10 in the conference.
Hooper's huge rebounding performance was her third 15-rebound effort in Nebraska's last seven games, and her 18 boards were the highest total by a player on any Connie Yori-coached Husker team.
Hooper, a 6-2 sophomore from Alliance, Neb., added two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in a tremendous all-around effort. Freshman forward Emily Cady scored all 13 of her points in the first half to help the Huskers build an 18-point halftime lead. With Cady and Hooper dominating the inside, Nebraska's lead grew to 26 points at 60-34 with 13:30 left in the game.
Nebraska's momentum stalled when Wisconsin's Taylor Wurtz hit a three-pointer with 12:12 left and Cady was injured on the play. Cady left the court and did not return.
Nebraska's offense stalled for the next eight minutes and Wisconsin closed the gap to 60-47 on Anya Covington's layup with 6:38 left. But NU senior Kaitlyn Burke answered the bell for the Huskers by draining her second three of the game with 5:20 left to put Nebraska back up by 16 points. Burke finished with 11 points for her fourth double-figure scoring effort of the season.
Junior guard Lindsey Moore hit four straight free throws down the stretch to seal the win and finish with 11 points and six assists, despite playing with a bruised knee.
Morgan Paige led Wisconsin with 15 points, while Wurtz finished with 14 points. Covington ended with 12 points, while Lacia Gorman gave the Badgers four players in double figures with a career-high 10 points off the bench.
As a team, Nebraska hit 43.4 percent (23-53) of its shots from the field, including 5-of-17 three-pointers. NU also sank 17-of-21 free throws, while outrebounding UW, 34-31. The Huskers also won the turnover battle, 15-14.
Wisconsin hit 38 percent (19-50) of its shots, including 7-of-19 threes, while connecting on 14-of-17 free throws. Nebraska outscored Wisconsin 36-20 on points in the paint, including 16-6 on second-chance points.
Nebraska bolted to a 42-24 halftime lead thanks to solid first-half shooting and domination on the glass. The Huskers hit 15-of-29 shots from the field, including 4-of-11 three-pointers. The Huskers also hit 8-of-11 free throws, Nebraska outrebounded the Badgers, 20-10 in the first half, including an 8-2 margin on the offensive glass. The Huskers turned their eight offensive boards into 12 points, outscoring UW, 12-2 on second-chance points. NU also won the first-half turnover battle, 9-6.
Cady led the Huskers with 13 points and four rebounds in the first half, including 7-of-8 free throw shooting in the first half. Cady also hit 3-of-4 shots from the field. Hooper added seven points and 11 first-half rebounds, including five offensive boards. Burke led the Husker backcourt with eight first-half points.
Wisconsin hit just 7-of-20 shots from the field in the first half and went just 4-of-14 in the last 14 minutes. The Badgers hit just two field goals in the final 10:30 of the half. Gorman led UW off the bench with 10 points, while Covington contributed eight points. Wisconsin hit 2-of-6 threes and 8-of-9 free throws in the first half.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action on Thursday, when the Huskers take on Michigan State in East Lansing. Tip-off between the Huskers and Spartans at the Breslin Center is set for 6 p.m. with live radio coverage from the Husker Sports Network at Huskers.com.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.