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Nebraska Women’s Basketball Gets Back on Track With 68-54 Win Over Purdue

by Jan 31, 2024Nebraska Womens Basketball

Nebraska Women’s Basketball Gets Back on Track With 68-54 Win Over Purdue
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska women’s basketball got back in the win column on Wednesday, taking care of business in a 68-54 win over Purdue.

The Boilermakers entered on a six-game losing streak, but had been competitive with a few of the top teams in the Big Ten. Regardless, the Huskers made sure they snapped their own two-game skid.

“We haven’t had a win in a little while so this feels really nice,” Nebraska guard Jaz Shelley said postgame.

Here are three takeaways from the contest.

Balanced Scoring Effort

Nebraska finished the game with five players scoring double-digits, none having more than 14 points.

The Huskers have not been an outstanding offensive team so far in conference play, and that was again the case tonight. However, their ability to not be one-dimensional allowed them to put up enough points to win comfortably.

Early on, it was all Alexis Markowski. The junior center scored 10 of her 14 points in the opening quarter, looking to be on her way to a dominant night. That didn’t quite come to fruition, as she shot 0-for-4 in the second half, but she did well passing the ball against increased defensive attention from Purdue.

“We’re gonna go through her as much as we can,” Shelley said. “And she was the hot hand and she does a really good job of knowing that’s her time and I think that they started to really push her out and try and double team and send a whole bunch at her in the second half. And she was a facilitator.”

Markowski finished with three assists on the night. Besides her efforts, three guards scored double-digits — Shelley worked her way to 10 points throughout the game, Darian White’s nine-point third quarter powered her total of 14, and Kendall Moriarty scored seven of her 11 points in the second half.

Natalie Potts rounded out the group with 11 points.

Rebounding, Defense Helps Close Game Out

While Nebraska got the offensive contributions it needed, it was a far from a perfect performance on that end.

The team turned the ball over nine times between the second and third quarters and shot 26.3% in the fourth. Purdue trailed by just three points at the half. The Huskers were able to take control behind strong defensive stretches and rebounding.

After cutting its deficit to four early in the third quarter, the Boilermakers went on a scoring drought of three-and-a-half minutes, allowing the home team to push the difference to 14.

To start the fourth, Nebraska took over on the glass. On its second possession, three offensive rebounds led to a made Shelley three. Potts then blocked a shot and grabbed two more rebounds on the offensive glass to set up her own made shot. That sequence made it a 16-point game, and the Boilermakers didn’t have nearly enough firepower to recover.

In the final period alone, she recorded six rebounds — five offensive — two steals and a block. She didn’t grab a single board through the first three quarters, and delivered on a challenge to change that.

Lineup Shakeup

Nebraska made a change heading into the game, starting guard Callin Hake in place of Maddie Krull.

The latter has struggled this year, shooting below 30% from the field and averaging 2.4 points per game. Hake has put up 6.9 points per game on good 3-point shooting numbers, her other two career starts coming due to injuries to starters.

Head coach Amy Williams said she made the change looking to “shake some things up” and remedy some of the team’s struggles early in games and in closing out quarters.

Hake shot 1-for-4 from the field with two turnovers on the night, making her only shot late. Krull missed all three of her attempts in 10 minutes on the floor.

Whether the Huskers will continue to change things around at that spot in the starting lineup is unclear. Moriarty started the first four games of the season with Krull out due to injury.

Nebraska’s next game comes against Rutgers (0-10 in Big Ten play) on Saturday.

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