----------------------------- 1 2 3 4 total San Jose State 16 18 21 6 61 NEBRASKA 16 21 26 20 83 -----------------------------
The Huskers, who scored a season-high 83 points and grabbed a season-best 55 rebounds, improved to 4-6 with the victory, while San Jose State slipped to 2-8 on the season.
Shepard scored 23 points in the second half as Nebraska pulled away from a Spartan squad with four senior starters from a team that finished 11-7 in the Mountain West last season. Fellow post player Allie Havers added all eight of her points inside after halftime, while Darrien Washington contributed a career-high seven points while matching a career best with six rebounds.
Overall, Nebraska outscored San Jose State 50-20 in the paint, including a 34-14 edge after halftime.
Freshman Nicea Eliely added another strong performance with 13 points and seven rebounds to go along with four assists, a block and a steal. It marked Eliely's second double-figure scoring game of her young career.
Junior guard Emily Wood pitched in seven points while matching a career high with a pair of steals. Wood and Eliely joined forces during a key Husker surge midway through the second quarter.
The Huskers carried a 37-34 lead into halftime before erupting for a season-high 26 third-quarter points. Shepard, who had 14 points in the quarter, helped the Big Red take a 63-55 lead into the fourth quarter.
While Nebraska produced its best offensive output of the season, the Huskers' fourth-quarter defense also played a major role. NU limited San Jose State to just six points in the fourth quarter. The Huskers held the Spartans scoreless for nearly the first five minutes of the final period, while Shepard, Havers and Washington joined forces on a 13-0 run to build Nebraska's lead to 76-55 with six minutes left.
San Jose State's Dezz Ramos stopped the run with a field goal to close out her team-high 24 points, but freshman Hannah Whitish answered with Nebraska's only three-pointer of the second half to end any Spartan hope of a late rally.
For the game, Nebraska hit 53.8 percent (35-65) of its shots from the field, including 20-of-33 (.606) in the second half. The Huskers hit 6-of-17 three-pointers (.353), while settling for 7-of-15 free throws. Nebraska added its largest rebound margin of the season (+24) by outrebounding SJSU 55-31, including 30-12 in the second half. NU's huge margin on the glass allowed them to overcome a minus-13 turnover margin (26-13) against the pesky Spartans.
Nebraska closed the first quarter tied at 16 with the Spartans after outscoring San Jose State 9-2 to end the period. The Big Red fell behind the Spartans 14-7 on a Rachol West three-pointer with 3:12 left. The Huskers held San Jose State without a field goal the rest of the quarter.
Nebraska took a 19-16 lead on Eliely's three-pointer to open the second quarter, and maintained a 27-26 lead with five minutes left in the half after Wood's steal and layup. The Huskers took their biggest lead of the first half at 34-26 on Wood's three-pointer with 3:30 left, but SJSU's Dezz Ramos answered with eight straight points to tie the score again at 34 with 1:42 left.
Nebraska's Rylie Cascio Jensen hit her second three of the first half with 25 seconds left to send the Big Red to halftime with a 37-34 lead.
Ramos, who entered the game averaging 19.1 points per game, scored 16 of San Jose State's 18 points in the second quarter. The Huskers held her scoreless in the opening quarter, and limited her to just six points in the second half.
Eliely led the Huskers with nine points, five rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 13 first-half minutes. Cascio Jensen added six points on her two three-pointers, while Shepard, Washington and Wood each scored five first-half points.
As a team, Nebraska hit 15-of-32 shots from the field (.469), including 5-of-9 three-pointers (.556). The Huskers were just 2-of-6 in the first half at the line, but outrebounded the Spartans 25-19.
San Jose State hit just 33.3 percent (12-of-36) of its first-half shots, including 6-of-19 threes (.316), while knocking down 4-of-6 free throws. The Spartans won the first-half turnover battle 13-8.
The Huskers will take a week off from competition for finals at the University of Nebraska, before heading to Omaha to take on Creighton. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Bluejays from D.J. Sokol Arena on Sunday, Dec. 18, is set for 2 p.m.