Women's Basketball vs. North Carolina Central

Nebraska’s Jaz Shelley (1) drives the ball into the paint during their game against North Carolina Central at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

It couldn’t have been a more intense showdown on the first day of December. Big Ten versus ACC, two undefeated teams clashing for the first time ever with both looking to hand the other its first loss of the season. 

Nebraska women’s basketball, despite being on the road at Wake Forest, made sure that it was walking out undefeated, taking down the Demon Deacons 86-60.

Sophomore guard Jaz Shelley once again led the charge for the Huskers, finishing the game with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. Senior guard Mi'Cole Cayton followed with 12 points, a rebound, an assist and a steal off the bench. Junior forward Bella Cravens finished with 10 points, six rebounds and an assist.

Sophomore forward Isabelle Bourne had nine points, five rebounds and three assists. Rounding out the top five scorers for Nebraska was freshman forward Kendall Coley with eight points, two rebounds, an assist and a block. 

As a team, the Huskers were 32-of-60 in field goal shooting, 10-of-28 in 3-point shooting and 12-of-14 in free-throw shooting. Nebraska also had 40 total rebounds and even 38 points coming off the bench.

“I thought our depth really helped,” Nebraska women’s basketball coach Amy Williams said postgame. “Look at the bench points. Our bench really produced today and it's really good to lean on them.”

After Wake Forest got on the board first with a jumper, Shelley dropped not just one, but two 3-pointers to give her team a 6-2 lead two minutes into the game. Following a Demon Deacons’ 3-pointer of their own, Cravens drove into the paint and made Nebraska’s lead 8-5. Then from the corner, Shelley tossed up yet another 3-pointer to give the Huskers another quick run. Coming off a Wake Forest timeout and a free throw, things were quiet for nearly two minutes.

A Demon Deacons’ layup made the score 11-8 and ended the drought. This was followed by Nebraska’s fifth foul of the quarter, which gave Wake Forest a chance to get some points from the free throw line. When the score became 11-9, Cravens tried increasing the wedge in the margin with another layup. Shelley joined in on the third Husker run of the quarter with a layup of her own to make the score 15-9.

Wake Forest did stay present in the quarter as it went 2-of-2 at the foul line, then made a jump shot. However, Coley brought energy back to Nebraska with a 3-pointer to make the score 18-13. Freshman center Alexis Markowski made it to the scoresheet after going 1-of-2 at the free throw line in the final minute of the quarter. The Demon Deacons’ did get one last string of points from the foul line as well, wrapping up the first quarter with the score 19-15.

Cayton took her turn shooting from beyond the arc to open up the second quarter and didn’t waste it. Freshman forward Annika Stewart then extended the Huskers’ lead to 10 after she earned an and-one layup. Then, when Wake Forest tried cutting into the lead with a layup, Cayton landed another 3-pointer to push said lead to 11. After a Demon Deacons’ jumper, Cayton added another two points to maintain Nebraska’s pressure up on Wake Forest.

Another scoreless two minutes proceeded, which also included an official’s timeout, which was caused by Shelley getting cut under the chin. A quick spurt of points popped up with the Demon Deacons’ getting four and Nebraska freshman guard Kendall Moriarty and Cayton each getting two. Coming off a media timeout, Shelley took a trip to the foul line and went 2-of-2, giving the Huskers a 36-23 lead. Wake Forest got it to 36-28 but Nebraska quickly tightened up. 

Cayton put up another layup. 36 seconds later, Coley tossed it up from beyond the arc to push the lead back to 13. Freshman guard Allison Weidner added a layup to Nebraska’s run as the final minute of the half began. The Demon Deacons did get the last shot of the half, racking up a layup as time expired to make the score 43-30. 

Wake Forest came out of the locker room desperate for something, before it dropped six points within the first two minutes of the quarter. But, with a 13 point lead, along with a never ending volley of points, the Huskers continued to keep their lead in a comfortable spot. When the Husker lead entered single digits, Nebraska unleashed a 7-0 run to make it 52-36. The run contained five points by Bourne and two by Weidner. 

The Demon Deacons did put up a layup, but Bourne responded with one of her own to make the score 54-38. After a 4-0 Wake Forest run, the Huskers responded with a 6-0 run by Markowski, Haiby and Shelley to make it 60-42. As the teams entered the fourth, the score was 62-44.

The Demon Deacons once again opened up with a quick 4-0 run, but Shelley then landed her fourth 3-pointer of the night, which was followed by a Stewart layup. After two free throws by Wake Forest, Weidner put up a layup, continuing the Huskers’ dominating pressure. Cravens added on with a layup extending Nebraska’s lead to 71-50. 

Right before the media timeout, the Demon Deacons took another trip to the foul line and went 2-of-2. After the media timeout, the Huskers dropped another 7-0 run. Then, when Wake Forest put a triple, Scoggin replied with her second straight 3-pointer, showing Nebraska's refusal to let its foot of the gas. Soon the buzzer went off and the score flashed 86-60 Husker win.

With the win, the Huskers remain undefeated and improve to 8-0 on the season, the first time Nebraska has done so since the 2009-2010 season. 2009-2010 was also the same season where the Huskers finished 32-2, and made it to the Sweet Sixteen. The team’s next game will kickstart its conference schedule as it travels to Minnesota. Tipoff is set for Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on Big Ten Network. 

“It feels good to be 8-0,” Cayton said postgame. “Like Kevin Garnett said, it’s possible. We have to do the impossible, but it is possible. We just got to continue grinding it out every single day. We have goals on this team and we got to get it done. 

sports@dailynebraskan.com