Eliely 12.22.19

Nebraska’s Nicea Eliely (5) goes up for a shot during the Huskers’ matchup against Manhattan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Nebraska women’s basketball team had one last stop before finally being able to celebrate the holidays, a home game against Manhattan. Unlike the men’s team, there was no holiday letdown.

Nebraska came in hot, winning its last four games after losing to Creighton while the struggling Jaspers came into Lincoln with a 3-6 record. Manhattan was riding a three-game losing streak yet kept the game close in the first quarter.

The Jaspers had a strong shooting start from the perimeter, going 5-9 from the 3-point line in the first quarter. Freshman guard Emily Lapointe made three of those threes in the first quarter and overall, led the Jaspers with 17 points.

Though Manhattan’s offense got the right offensive start, the Jasper defense was still outmatched by the Huskers. Nebraska only had two threes but shot 56.3 percent from the field during the first quarter.

Junior center Kate Cain and sophomore forward Leigha Brown led the first quarter scoring as both players each had six points. The Husker offense kept up with the Jasper offense and neither team held a lead for long.

The largest lead in the first quarter was a Nebraska four point lead but Manhattan was only down 21-19 to end the first quarter.

Then, Nebraska kicked off the second quarter on a 9-0 run. Sophomore guard Sam Haiby started the run with a second chance bucket before Brown scored the remaining seven points. 

Brown hit two threes in 40 seconds and hit a free throw to take a 30-19 lead. 

Manhattan did not score its first point until the 5:37 mark as sophomore guard Kania Pollock hit a two-point jumper. A polar contrast of the first quarter, the Jaspers scored just six points and shot just 18.7 percent from the field with no threes.

The Jaspers were struggling on offense and had no answers to Brown. Brown hit another three and another shot to give herself 12 points in the second quarter, doubling the Jasper offensive output by herself.

Nebraska took a 37-25 lead into halftime and the chances of a holiday letdown slimmed down.

Despite Brown cooling down from her 18point first half performance, the Huskers continued to assert their dominance over the Jaspers. Neither team scored a point in the first two minutes before Nebraska went on a 7-0 run in less than two minutes.

Cain and Brown did most of the damage on the run to give Nebraska a 44-25 lead. That was the largest Husker lead of the third quarter as the Jasper offense bounced back with a solid performance.

The Jaspers hit three 3-pointers during the third quarter and the defense finally got a couple of stops. Nebraska scored four points in the last five minutes but during that stretch, the Jasper offense could not score enough.

Manhattan scored just six points in the five minutes and Nebraska was still up double digits heading into the fourth quarter. The Huskers led 50-37 and were now in their favorite quarter.

Like the second quarter, Nebraska went on another 9-0 run to extend the lead to 59-37. This time, Brown and Cain did not contribute to the run but sophomore guard Sam Haiby, senior guard Nicea Eliely and freshman forward Isabella Bourne led the charge.

Each player had three points during the first four minutes of the fourth quarter while the defense continued to lock down the Jasper offense. Manhattan shot just 32 percent from the field in the second half and only hit four threes as well.

The Huskers led by as much as 25 points in the 71-51 victory. Nebraska finished its non-conference slate at 10-1 and now goes on a six-day break before beginning conference play against Iowa at home.