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Nebraska Women’s Basketball Cruises to Win Over Northwestern

by Feb 20, 2024Nebraska Womens Basketball

Nebraska Women’s Basketball Cruises to Win Over Northwestern
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska women’s basketball hit double-digit Big Ten wins on Tuesday as it beat Northwestern 75-50.

The Huskers jumped out to a big lead early and cruised from there, gaining a little more distance in the second half to solidify the blowout.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

Defense Sets Tone as Huskers Take Care of Business

Northwestern came into this game as one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, owning an 8-17 overall record and 3-11 league mark. The Wildcats were the only team in the conference with an NET ranking outside of the top 200.

Still, Nebraska couldn’t take its opponent lightly, less than three weeks removed from losing to last-place Rutgers at home. The Scarlet Knights shot just under 60% from the field in that game, and this contest surely did not offer a repeat.

Northwestern made its first shot from the field, but then didn’t score for nearly eight minutes after that. It finished the opening period with just six points, coming on two threes from Maggie Pina. The other 15 shots taken by the Wildcats didn’t connect, most being defended well by the Huskers.

Nebraska held a Big Ten opponent to 50 points or fewer for the third time this season, as Northwestern finished the game with a field goal percentage of 29.8%. Many of the shots the visitors did connect on were well-contested, and the Huskers scored 20 points off of 13 forced turnovers. Northwestern also didn’t make a field goal for the final six minutes of the contest.

The result is what you’d expect to see in this type of matchup, but it was encouraging to see the better side bring that to fruition. The 25-point difference marked Nebraska’s most lopsided win of Big Ten play.

Logan Nissley Keys Hot Start From Deep

True freshman guard Logan Nissley impressed in her first career start against Purdue, and did so again on Tuesday.

After Northwestern started scoring off with a three, Nissley drained two of her own to put the Huskers in front. That helped spark a 20-point opening quarter for the team.

“They run kind of a weird zone, a blizzard defense, and we knew that we could shoot them out of it,” center Alexis Markowski said postgame. “Logan’s the top option there. I looked at her, and I just told her, ‘Keep shooting those open threes,’ I just have so much confidence in her, our team does.”

Two more made threes in the second half brought Nissley to 12 points, where she remained for the rest of the game. She missed both shots she took in six second-half minutes, but dished out five of her career-best six assists in that span. Nissley also finished the game with four rebounds.

The freshman has been key for Nebraska as of late, and if she can continue to keep up this type of play in the starting lineup, it only makes the Huskers a more dangerous team.

Frontcourt Dominates Second Half

Alexis Markowski produced more of the same in the win, securing a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes. She earned most of that in the first half.

In the second half, other forwards had their chance to shine.

True freshman Natalie Potts didn’t stand out in the first half, but she dominated out of the break.

“I haven’t been producing and playing like I should be and have been, so I thought that today I could step up,” she said postgame. “We needed an energy boost, and I thought that I could help give the team that.”

She scored 13 of Nebraska’s 21 points in the third quarter. An and-one put Nebraska up 18, and back-to-back steals led to layups for the freshman to push the advantage to 20 a little bit later. She didn’t miss any of her five attempts from the field and knocked down all three free throws she took, too. A fourth-quarter three gave her 18 points for the game. 

She paired that scoring total with 10 rebounds — eight coming in the second half — and three steals. She was everywhere on both ends, displaying the type of activity that has made her the top candidate for Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Senior center Annika Stewart also picked up where Potts started to leave off. She ended the third quarter with a bucket, and added eight more points in the fourth. Stewart made her first five shots in the second half before finally failing to connect on a late three. Her 13 points tied a season-high scoring mark, a good sign for a veteran player whose numbers had taken a bit of a dip this season. 

Those two gave the Huskers a spark in the second half, helping finish off a blowout win well.

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