Nebraska women’s basketball improved to 3-0 Tuesday night, beating Alcorn State 79-32.
The Huskers drew 31 fouls in the contest, leading to 36 free-throw attempts. Every player to enter the game scored and three finished with double-digit points, led by Alexis Markowski’s 20-point outing. It was an eventful game for plenty reasons beyond the score. Here are three takeaways.
Injuries Pile Up
Nebraska entered the season opener last week knowing that three players on its 13-player roster were set to miss time for the team.
Allison Weidner suffered a season-ending injury in practice, while Maddie Krull awaits her season debut in recovery from a day-to-day lower leg injury. Maggie Mendelson won’t join the team until Nebraska volleyball’s season ends at some point in December.
That gave the team 10 players for the first two regular season games of the year. On Tuesday, that number was cut down to eight. Annika Stewart showed up at Pinnacle Bank Arena with a boot on her right foot, and Jaz Shelley sported a similar accessory after injuring her ankle early in the night’s game against Alcorn State.
While this didn’t have much effect on this game’s result, it’s certainly a major storyline going forward. Shelley, of course, is the top player on the team, while Krull and Stewart have starting experience and hold significant roles when healthy.
The status of all three can best be described as day-to-day, according to head coach Amy Williams post-game. Any timeline more specific than that is uncertain at the moment, but any of those players returning to the lineup will be a welcome sight ahead of an important stretch of games.
Nebraska’s plays Creighton on Nov. 19 before heading to St. Petersburg to take on Lamar and TCU in the St. Pete Showcase next week. The Bluejays and Horned Frogs may offer the Huskers’ biggest two tests of nonconference play, while Lamar could also put up a fight against a potentially shorthanded foe.
Various Players Step Up
As a result of the injuries, a few players saw the floor for more minutes than they otherwise might have. Williams was happy with how they performed with that increased responsibility.
“We faced some adversity tonight,” Williams said. “I thought we had some players that stepped up and found ways to contribute for our team.”
There were highlights to be found from all eight players that made up the rotation after Shelley’s exit. Sophomore guard Callin Hake finished with 14 points, two assists, three steals and a career-high seven rebounds. Freshman forward Jessica Petrie had eight points and six rebounds, drawing praise from Williams for her physicality.
Freshman guard Logan Nissley had the best shooting game of her season so far, going 2-for-4 from deep on the way to 10 points. Junior forward Kendall Coley filled up the stat sheet with five points, seven rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.
While the Huskers were somewhat sloppy offensively at points, every available player scored and made an impact at some point in the win.
Nebraska’s defense once again played well, as might be expected against this caliber of opponent.
However, the level to which the Huskers shut down Alcorn State was notable. The Braves’ 32 points are the lowest total given up by an Amy Williams-coached Nebraska team in her eight seasons. They had 15 points in the third quarter, but scored single digits in every other period.
The seven-point second quarter was not the lowest total, but was still perhaps the defensive highlight. Alcorn State went nearly the whole quarter without a made field goal, finally sinking a 3 with 33 seconds left to save itself from that feat. The Braves finished the game shooting 19.7% from the field, scoring five points in the final period of play while turning it over seven times.
Future opponents will provide a bigger challenge for a Husker team aiming to be strong defensively. That’ll start with a talented Creighton squad coming to Lincoln on Sunday.