Nebraska women’s basketball took care of business and more Tuesday night in a dominant 108-35 win over UNC Wilmington.
The game featured a number of entries into the program record book for the team, as the Huskers shot 58.1% from the field on the night and 45.7% on 3-pointers.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Jaz Shelley Records Her Second Career Triple-Double
Fifth-year guard Jaz Shelley came to play from the opening tip.
She assisted on a Darian White 3 to start scoring, then drained one of her own two possessions later. As Nebraska went up 10-0 and kept on rolling in the opening quarter, the points and assists kept coming.
Shelley took to the bench for the first time at the 3:07 mark of the first quarter. At that point, she had already totaled eight points, seven assists and five rebounds, accounting in some way for all 24 points the team had scored in that time. Her passing was surgical, giving Alexis Markowski the ball right where she needed it in the post and throwing a full-court dime to Natalie Potts.
While she didn’t quite keep that pace, she went into halftime on triple-double watch with eight points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. She learned how close she was to the accomplishment at the break.
“I was definitely heavily informed by my teammates,” Shelley said postgame.
A 3 on the team’s first possession of the second half gave her the double-double, but the rebounds came slower. Her ninth came on the offensive end as she fought to pull down her own missed shot with over five minutes to go in the third quarter. Shelley subbed out shortly after that, re-entering in the fourth quarter.
“I really wasn’t trying to stay in very long,” Shelley said. “I really wanted to get that rebound so I could get out.”
Still, it took another five minutes before she came down with one. She finally earned it on a UNC Wilmington airball, with the Pinnacle Bank Crowd erupting in recognition. Shelley nailed a 3 on the other end to cap off the stat-line — 19 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals and a block.
It goes down as the fifth triple-double in program history, and Shelley’s second. Her first was on Nov. 20, 2021, in a game against NC Central. She is the first Husker basketball player ever — men’s or women’s — to record multiple.
“It took us a couple years to get her to campus, but once she came here, we knew she was more than capable of being one of the most special to wear a Husker uniform,” Coach Amy Williams said postgame. “And I think she’s proving that.”
The Entire Nebraska Team Dominated, Too
Plenty of Huskers had great games, as one might expect in a 73-point win.
The margin of victory was the team’s biggest ever against another Division I program. It should be noted that UNC Wilmington owns the worst NET ranking of any Husker opponent so far at No. 349, but the success Tuesday was still impressive.
Shelley gave credit to her teammates for her 11 assists when speaking of her triple-double. There were reasons beyond humbleness to do so, too. Players like Potts and Logan Nissley ran out in transition often, and a few of Shelley’s assists came in the midst of strong ball movement sequences from the team as a whole.
Nebraska made 24 shots in the first half, and 23 of those were assisted. It finished the contest with 32 assists, the most in a game for the team since 1999. The 16 made 3-pointers are tied for second all-time, and the 62-point first half tied for first.
Seven players finished with double-digit points, as Markowski and Nissley scored 18 each. The former had a double-double with 12 rebounds, while the latter shot 4-for-6 from 3 while also turning in five rebounds, four assists and three steals. White, Potts and Jessica Petrie each added 11 points, and Callin Hake’s 10 points rounded out the double-digit scorers.
All 10 players scored, with Shelley and Maddie Krull being the only ones not to shoot at least 50% from the field.
Offensive Momentum Building
Over their past six quarters of play, the Huskers are shooting over 60% from the field and over 50% from deep.
That includes the full game Tuesday night and the second-half of last Saturday’s comeback win over Georgia Tech. Nebraska has shot over 50% in each of those quarters, and has generally had a decent start to the year offensively.
Nebraska is averaging 81.7 points per game so far, well up from 71.2 a year ago. It’s early, and the Big Ten schedule has yet to begin, but there are still things to point to that signal some type of growth. The Huskers have yet to score under 70 points this season, while that occurred four times in regulation last year within the first 10 games.
The team has certainly had its offensive struggles, but there has been a tad more consistency from game-to-game so far. The recent hot streak is also a good sign ahead of Saturday’s conference opener on the road against Michigan State.
The Spartans are the league’s top offense so far, averaging 93.9 points per game. They scored just 69 points in a loss to Creighton, and the schedule isn’t all that daunting besides that, but when a team’s next-lowest output is 87 points, there’s some real success there.
Both teams will look to continue to score effectively in that intriguing matchup.