A play in three acts took place at Pinnacle Bank Arena Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t think it was a good, solid 40 minute display for our fan base here,” said Nebraska coach Amy Williams. “But (we) certainly found a way to be resilient today and bounce back.”
In the first act, Nebraska(14-4, 4-3 Big Ten) and Michigan(12-6, 3-4 Big Ten) played neck and neck through the first quarter. Both teams shot 46-percent and made their only three-point attempt.
In the second act, the Wolverines took control. Michigan began the second period on a 9-3 run to lead 34-28 at the half. The Wolverines were dominating inside with 20 points in the paint and nine offensive rebounds. Nebraska kept things reasonable thanks to four made triples in the quarter.
Michigan grabbed their biggest lead of the game at 41-28 thanks to an 11-0 run between the end of the second and beginning of the third quarters. During that run, Nebraska was scoreless for 7:56 of game time.
“They went up 13 and we knew that we just had to flip a switch,” said guard Hannah Whitish. “I think getting stops on the defensive end definitely led to our looks on offense.”
Then came the third act.
Nebraska outscored Michigan 20-8, including a Whitish three-pointer at the buzzer, to trail by just one going into the final period. The Huskers took their first lead since the first quarter just 59 seconds into the final period on a Nicea Eliely triple. Nebraska took over the fourth quarter on a 19-11 run for their largest lead of the game at seven points.
“I think off of last year we’ve all matured more and we’re able to handle situations in close games,” said guard Sam Haiby. “It’s really showing right now.”
The Huskers made four free throws in the final minute while the Wolverines made a pair of threes, but the last two deep attempts by Michigan in the last eight seconds missed their mark as Nebraska held on for the 74-71 win.
“The thing I’m most proud of is their ability to not quit,” said Williams.
Michigan shot 44.3-percent for the game and made 8-of-14 threes. They also got 34 points in the paint and scored 16 second chance points courtesy 16 offensive rebounds.
Nebraska tied a season high 12 made three-pointers while shooting 42.9-percent from the field. The Huskers took advantage of their trips to the free throw line, making 20-of-24 at the stripe.
Whisith led the Huskers with 20 points and five assists while making six triples. Haiby was hot on her heels, scoring 18 points with three triples. Eliely and Leigha Brown both reached double-digits scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Held scoreless the last two times out, Kate Cain scored eight points while grabbing six rebounds and blocking four shots. Cain is now just eight blocked shots from tying the career record at Nebraska, set by Janet Smith who had 238 from 1979-82.
Nebraska stays at home in their next outing, taking on Purdue(12-7, 3-4 Big Ten) January 22.