The first away game for the Nebraska women’s basketball team was a back-and-forth affair in Pullman, Washington.
Nebraska fell 87-84 to Washington State in a double overtime thriller, which had 10 lead changes and 10 ties.
31 points from Cougar junior Borislava Hristova and 26 points from junior Chanelle Molina were too much for the Huskers to handle.
The game ended in a close battle, but that wasn’t the case for the entire game. The Huskers trailed the Cougars by as much as 13 in the third quarter, but a 21-10 fourth quarter run by the Huskers put them back into contention.
Short offensive runs decided the game. The Huskers had the first run, they scored eight unanswered points to gain a 12-6 advantage early in the first quarter. The Cougars battled back on eight points from Hristova in the first quarter. Washington State took a 19-18 lead at the end of the first quarter on a three pointer by Molina, who hit five from deep on the night.
The second quarter started with a Nebraska turnover and an easy layup for Hristova. The Cougars led 21-18. With 6:12 to play in the second quarter, the Cougars started a 6-0 run of their own extending the lead to six. Three minutes later, the Huskers cut the lead to two points on a layup by freshman Ashtyn Verbeek, 31-29.
Washington State then began to distance itself. The Cougars poured it on the Huskers, scoring 10 unanswered to end the half. Hristova led the charge with 16 points at the break. A turnover by Husker junior Grace Mitchell led to a last-second layup by Hristova which put a cap on the half, with the Cougar lead at 39-29.
In the third quarter the Cougars exploited holes in the Huskers’ 2-3 zone and found a plethora of open three-point shots. Cougar senior Alexys Swedlund, the all-time leader in the three-point baskets for Washington State, showed everyone her shooting ability on Friday night. The senior caught fire in the third quarter, nailing three three-pointers in the third quarter. Swedlund made a transition bucket at the five-minute mark to extend the Cougar lead, 50-37.
The Huskers answered, as sophomore Taylor Kissinger found freshman Sam Haiby cutting to the basket for a layup a few seconds later and cut the lead to 11. Molina and Swedlund tacked on three-pointers later in the quarter and Cougars led 60-49 at the end of the third quarter.
Nebraska slowly and methodically climbed back into the game. The first two minutes in the fourth quarter went without points, but Simon broke the silence with a 2-point jumper from the lane to put the Huskers within 9 of the Cougars. The next possession, the Cougars fired back with a three-pointer from Hristova to give Washington state a 63-51 lead. The teams traded points for the next two minutes.
Nebraska sophomore Kate Cain scored on a layup with 5:34 to go and earned a block on the next possession. Haiby cut the led to five with a three-pointer on her own. Following a media timeout, Kissinger hit a three of her own and the Cougars led 68-66 with 4:15 to play.
Washington State senior Maria Kostourkova made a layup with 3:19 in the fourth quarter and put the Cougars up 70-68. Neither team scored for two minutes. Kissinger broke the scoring drought on two free-throws, tying the game at 70.
A last-second shot attempt by Hukser junior Hannah Whitish didn’t fall at the end of regulation. Haiby made two layups in the the first overtime to put the Huskers up 78-74. Hristova cut the margin to two on free throws. The Cougars tied the ball game on a broken play with two seconds left. A mad scramble was made for a tipped pass and Kostourkova secured the ball and found the top of the glass to tie the game at 78.
The second overtime period went back and forth, as well. Kostourkova started the period with a basket, but Simon answered with a three-pointer and gave the Huskers the lead, 81-80. Whitish banked a three-point shot of her own a few possessions later to cut the Husker lead to two at 84-82.The second overtime also had a two-minute scoring drought. The Huskers played excellent half-court defense and forced bad shots as the shot clock expired.
Hristova made two free throws to tie the game at 84. A turnover by Simon with 47 seconds to play led to a Hristova layup and foul to give the Cougars a two-point lead.
Nebraska’s next possession ended in a forced shot attempt by Haiby and the rebound was secured by the Cougars, giving the Huskers no choice but to foul.
The 87-84 victory for the Cougars is the first win in 2018 and under new head coach Kamie Ethridge. Haiby led the Huskers offensively with 20 points and was 53 percent from the field. Cain tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Huskers continue their five-game road stretch and will not return to Pinnacle Bank Arena until Dec. 5.
Next up for the Amy Williams’ team is the Miami Thanksgiving Classic. Nebraska tips off against Miami at 2 p.m. next Friday.