Lincoln, Neb. — No. 10 Nebraska rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to cut Washington State's lead to 66-65 with 4:53 left, but the Cougars held on for a 76-72 women's basketball win at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.
The Huskers slipped to 6-1 overall with their first-ever loss on their new home court, while Washington State improved to 4-4.
The Cougars capitalized on sizzling long-range shooting. WSU buried 12 threes, including nine in the first half to jump to a pair of huge leads. In the first half, Washington State rode several hot hands to a 29-14 lead in the game's first 10 minutes.
But Nebraska responded with a 16-0 run to take its only lead of the game at 30-29 with 5:07 left on a pair of free throws from Jordan Hooper.
Hooper finished with her fourth double-double of the season and her fourth straight 20-point scoring effort with 24 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. It was the 30th double-double of her career. However, Hooper struggled from the field, hitting just 6-of-27 shots and 2-of-8 threes. She went 10-of-11 at the line.
While Hooper fueled NU's first-half comeback with five points, including a three-point play, Washington State responded to take a 45-38 lead to halftime. The Cougars went 9-for-17 from long range in the first half, including 3-of-4 from Taylor Edmondson off the bench and 2-for-2 from Sage Romberg. Dawnyelle Awa added two of her own, while Lia Galdeira and Brandi Thomas each threw in a three.
While WSU was red hot, the Big Red were ice cold, going 1-of-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Hailie Sample gave the Huskers a huge lift in the opening period with a season-high 11 points in the first half alone to keep NU within striking distance. She finished with 11 points, to go along with six rebounds and four assists, while going 4-of-5 from the field.
Hooper hit two more free throws to cut the WSU lead to 45-40 out of the halftime locker room. But Galdeira, who had 14 points despite fouling out in just 17 minutes, responded in a big way. She hit two threes before her steal led Romberg's third three of the night to quickly give WSU its biggest lead of the night at the time at 56-40 in a span of less than two minutes.
Huskers travel next to North Carolina for a Dec 4th match up at 5pm.
The match will air live on ESPN3.
The Cougar lead grew as large as 19 points on two occasions, the last coming at 63-44 with 12:01 left on a pair of Edmondson free throws. She finished with 13 points off the bench for WSU.
Then Emily Cady shot the Huskers back into it. The 6-2 junior forward from Seward, Neb., hit NU's second three-pointer of the night, then added a jumper and was fouled to set up a three-point play opportunity trailing 63-49. Cady missed the free throw, but Hooper got the board and was fouled. Hooper converted both free throws for a four-point possession and NU had regained some of the momentum.
Tear'a Laudermill, who produced her second straight double-figure scoring performance with 10 points, teamed with Cady for back-to-back baskets. Cady converted her shot into a three-point play, and the WSU lead was down to seven at 63-56 with 9:45 left.
Cady hit two more free throws before Rachel Theriot hit a jumper to cap NU's second 16-0 run of the night and make it a 63-60 game with 8:08 left. Cady finished with her third double-double of the season and 11th of her career with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Theriot gave the Huskers five players in double figures with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.
NU got the lead to 65-63 shortly after Sadie Murren drew a charge on Galdeira with 6:10. It was Galdeira's fifth foul, and just 12 seconds later Cady hit the second of two free throws to trim the margin to 65-63.
Tia Presley, who led Washington State with 17 points but did not hit a three, ended NU's run, but the Huskers kept coming. Laudermill cut the margin to 66-65 with 4:53 left, but WSU answered with a floater from Dawnyelle Awa and a three-point play from Presley to extend the margin back to 71-66 with 2:46 left. Awa finished with a career-high 13 points, while adding five assists.
Hooper's first three-pointer of the night with 1:53 left got the WSU margin back to two at 71-69 and her second with seven seconds left made it 74-72. But the Cougars hit free throws down the stretch to seal the four-point win.
Washington State hit 42.6 percent from the field for the game, including 12-of-25 (48 percent) from three-point range on the night. The Cougars also hit 12-of-16 free throws. Nebraska hit just 36.4 percent of its shots, including just 22.2 percent (4-18) of its threes. NU went 20-of-26 at the line and outrebounded WSU, 48-38. The Cougars won the turnover battle, 16-15.
---------------------------------------- 1st 2nd Total Washington State 45 31 76 Nebraska (10) 38 34 72 ----------------------------------------