Veerbeek 11.20.19

Nebraska’s Ashtyn Veerbeek (13) rebounds during the game against Southern at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Senior guard Hannah Whitish’s first basket of the game made her the 33rd player in Nebraska women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points. 

Some players, including Whitish, said postgame that they were so focused on the game that they spaced off this achievement for a couple seconds.

However, junior center Kate Cain went crazy after Whitish made her basket and her reaction sparked excitement within the team. Whitish made it clear that she was more focused on the team win.

“There’s not much with this team on individual accomplishments,” Whitish said.

That team-first attitude helped drive the Huskers to a 73-39 win against the Southern Jaguars.

While this is head coach Amy Williams’ fourth season with the Huskers (5-0), this is the first time they have opened up 5-0 under her. The last time Nebraska women’s basketball  opened up 5-0 was in the 2014-15 season.

Southern (2-3) is known to play tough defense. 

“This team creates a lot of offense from their defense,” Williams said.

Nebraska still managed to shoot 60 percent in the first quarter, while holding Southern to 23.1 percent. At the end of the first quarter, Nebraska led 20-7. 

In the second quarter, the Huskers only shot 36 percent from the field, but their 3-point shooting kept the offense going. Nebraska shot 60 percent from beyond the arc in the quarter, going 3-5.

Whitish contributed two 3-pointers and sophomore forward Leigha Brown added another. At halftime, the Huskers led 35-19.

The Huskers made a statement to start the second half, as sophomore forward Ashtyn Veerbeek made back-to-back 3-pointers within the first two minutes of the third quarter. Later in the period, sophomore guard Sam Haiby and Mitchell each added in another 3-pointer.

Nebraska increased its lead to 55-24 by the end of the third and held the Jaguars to 14 percent shooting.

Williams applauded the team’s defensive intensity, saying they were locked in and made everything Southern did difficult to start the half.

Brown scored six points in the fourth quarter and brought her total to a game-high 16 points.Williams noted that Brown is a shot creator for herself and for others.

Veerbeek and Haiby joined her in double-digits, scoring 10 and 12 points, respectively. Veerbeek also had a team-high eight rebounds.

Nebraska had eight total turnovers, but only one came in the second half.

Southern’s top scorer was sophomore guard Amani McWain, who had 15.

As Nebraska seems to be making strides each game, both Brown and Williams agreed that this was the first time the Huskers have played a complete game this season.

The Huskers will return to action on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena against Creighton. 

Players are extra motivated for this in-state rivalry game, as Whitish mentioned that she’s lost to them the past three years.

“I’m tired of hearing blue state when it comes to basketball,” Whitish said.

Williams believes Creighton is one of the best teams Nebraska can play to prepare for Big Ten play. 

“It’s the next opportunity for us to become the best team we’re capable of,” Williams said.