Basketball vs. Maine Photo No. 8

Nebraska’s Kendall Moriarty (15) runs with the ball during the game against Maine at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

After 625 days of no fans in Pinnacle Bank Area, Nebraska women’s basketball gave fans a show with an impressive season-opening 108-50 victory over Maine. 

108 points marked the most a Husker team has scored under head coach Amy Williams and marked the first 100-point game by the Huskers since Nov. 16 2014.

“I have been saying this to anyone that will listen, I just absolutely love coaching this team. I see flashes of this at practices sometimes and this is definitely something that I see they are capable of,” Williams said postgame.

The Huskers were 41-of-67 from the field, good for 61.2%. The Huskers were also 8-of-15 from 3-range, and also shot a sparkling 18-of-22 from the free throw line

Nebraska raced to victory through  dominating the glass, with 43 total rebounds to the Black Bears 20. 31 of the 43 rebounds came on the defensive side of the ball. 

Sophomore center Izzy Bourne led the Huskers in scoring with 17 points. Bourne was 7-of-10 from the field, 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and 1-of-2 from the free throw line. Bourne rounded out her day with five rebounds, three assists and a block in the 16 minutes that she played.

Just behind Bourne, junior forward Bella Cravens had 13 points on 5-of-6 from the field and was 3-of-4 from the free throw line. Cravens ended the game with two assists, one block and eight rebounds over 18 minutes.  

The Huskers also had two 12-point efforts from sophomore guard Ashley Scoggin and freshman forward Annika Stewart. 

Rounding out the scoring leaders for the Huskers was junior guard Sam Haiby with 10 points. Haiby finished the day 4-of-7 from the field, 1-of-2 from three and 1-of-1 from the free throw line. Haiby added one rebound, three assists and one steal in her 18 minutes played. 

The Huskers got things started early as Bourne used her size to put in a contested hook shot for the lead 16 seconds into the game. It would set the tone for the afternoon, as Nebraska scored 60 of its 108 points in the paint.

“We really wanted to emphasize paint touches, not just post feed paint touches but penetration paint touches and then if that collapsed their defense inside outside looks from that,” Williams said. “I thought our kids really bought into that, I mean 60 points in the paint was a highlight.” 

Scoggin got the Huskers started from behind the arc as she got her first 3-pointer of the season, from an assist from Bourne to bring the lead to 11-4.

From there, the Huskers took a stranglehold of the contest. Following Scoggin’s 3-pointer, Nebraska closed the quarter on a 17-8 run to take a 28-8 lead following the first quarter.

The Huskers started the second quarter like they ended first as Stewart found the open lane for an easy layup 11 seconds into the second frame from an assist from Bourne.

Maine showed life, though, attempting to cut a second-quarter Husker lead that ballooned near 30 points. Husker freshman guard Ruby Porter knocked down a jumper to bring the lead to 29 but Maine answered back with a 3-pointer of its own by freshman forward Bailey Wilborn, then junior guard Anne Simon connected from 3-point range to cut the Huskers lead to 42-21.

Nebraska took a 50-26 lead into halftime, but Maine seized momentum no-doubt with a stronger second quarter. Entering halftime, Williams wanted to see her team respond.

“The biggest thing we talked about at half was focus, there were a few times where we saw some things that we really wanted to take advantage of on the offensive side,” Williams said. “The second half they were really locked in and focused and right before they walked out of the huddle, I said that they may take away this baseline drive so don’t be afraid to penetrate middle and on the first possession [sophomore guard] Jaz [Shelley] drove to the middle and dumped it off to Izzy for a bump on the glass.”

That jump started the Huskers as they got a quick defensive stop and went back down and got a 3-pointer from Shelley, a quick scoring burst that reaffirmed the Huskers’ decisive advantage.

Cravens extended that scoring streak as she got her jumper to go which forced Maine to call a timeout early in the second half to try and halt the momentum that the Huskers had. It didn’t matter, though, and Nebraska extended its lead to an over-40 point margin led by Bourne, Shelley and freshman forward Alexis Markowski. 

From there, Nebraska cruised. Stewart got her layup to go with 5.2 seconds left to cap off the third quarter with the Huskers leading 82-35. 

Bourne, in the fourth quarter, dropped a three-pointer to give the Huskers the 52 point lead. The Huskers would ultimately push their lead up to 58 points, at 103-45, an advantage that held as the final buzzer sounded.

Freshman guard Allison Weidner finished it off for the Huskers with 28 second left in the game, securing the 108-50 advantage for Nebraska. 

The Huskers will stay at home for the next four games starting with a game against Prairie View A&M. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Pinnacle Bank Area and can be viewed on Big Ten Plus. 

“I think just not being satisfied, all of us, not getting complacent, yes we had a good game today but we can’t let our foot off the gas and I think we all need to understand that going into practice and keep working hard,” Bourne said.