After going over a week without action, the Nebraska women’s basketball team was faced with another challenging foe in a high noon showdown on Sunday.
Nebraska’s most recent challenger to its unblemished record came in the form of the Drake Bulldogs.
Despite a tight bout early on, Nebraska once again took over the game and recorded another double-digit victory in an 89-68 win at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“It’s a good win,” Nebraska women’s basketball head coach Amy Williams said postgame. “It just feels really good. We have a ton of respect for Drake. They’re a high powered offense. So to hold them to 68 points is good.”
Sophomore guard Ashley Scoggin finished top in scoring for Nebraska. Scoggin had 16 points, four 3-pointers and three steals. The duo of junior guard Sam Haiby and freshman center Alexis Markowski tied for second in points, both finishing with 15 points. Haiby finished the game with a team-high four assists, while Markowski finished with a team-high 10 rebounds.
Freshman forward Annika Stewart and freshman guard Alison Weidner both scored 10 points on the afternoon. Six of Weidner’s came from the free throw line. Stewart recorded all 10 of her points in just 12 minutes of play.
As a team, Nebraska finished 31-of-69 from the field, 12-of-29 from 3-point range and 15-of-19 from the free-throw line. On defense, the Huskers had 36 total rebounds, 14 steals, seven blocks and scored 44 points off of 27 turnovers.
Perhaps most encouraging, the Huskers scored 42 bench points against the Bulldogs.
“Everyone has to embrace their role, and everyone does,” Markowski said postgame. “It works and that’s when everyone’s at their best. When everyone embraces their role and doesn’t care about playing time.”
Drake pushed tempo right from the tipoff as it delivered two swift 3-point baskets to go up 6-0. Following baskets by both teams, Haiby sliced into the Bulldogs’ lead with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to make the score 8-5. But Drake continued to hold on with its lead for the time and were soon up 12-7. After another Bulldog layup to make it 14-7, Scoggin put up a three of her own to jumpstart a Husker run.
In the blink of an eye, Bourne, Shelley and Markowski each dispatched a layup shot to suddenly give Nebraska a 16-14 lead. Coming off another Markowski layup, Drake responded to the run by converting a 3-pointer to make it 18-17.
The Huskers then widened their advantage, holding a 28-22 lead following a fast-paced opening quarter.
“Drake came to play,” Williams said. “They came out and punched us early, guns blazing. But what I love about this team is that they reacted like, ‘okay, you came to fight, we’ll fight’. So we just dug deep and continued to fight.”
The Bulldogs came out swinging in the second quarter with seven straight points to give them a 29-28 lead. Haiby immediately responded with a 3-pointer to give her team the lead. Markowski and Haiby helped build the Husker lead to 40-33, but the visitors would not go away quietly. Drake once again however cut back into the race and made it 40-37. But then as halftime neared, a quick series of scores emerged. A Bourne 3-pointer, a Scoggin layup and a Bulldog layup sent the teams into the locker rooms with the score 45-39 Nebraska.
Things grew quiet as the game progressed, with the first minute of the third quarter going scoreless. Early in the third quarter, Scoggin put down another 3-pointer to give the Huskers a 48-39 lead. Over another minute passed before another basket was made, which was by Haiby with a layup. Drake didn’t take long after that to score, as it delivered a quick 5-0 punch to close the margin to 50-44.
Scoggin did extend the lead by going 2-of-2 at the free-throw line, which Markowski replicated nearly 30 seconds later. Then to continue building momentum, Weidner snatched the ball from a Bulldog inbound pass and put a layup in, while also drawing the foul for an and-one. Drake responded once again to the Nebraska charge and put up four straight points.
A Weidner free throw extended Nebraska’s lead to 58-48 game. The guard was extremely productive off the bench, drawing the praise of Williams.
“You could just see it in her,” Williams said. “She really sparked us in the second half with the steal and the and-one. She knows how to fight, claw her way back and make something happen for our team.”
The margin mainly stayed around 10 throughout the remainder of the quarter. When the fourth quarter began, the score was 64-54 Huskers.
Once again, Drake opened up the quarter with a quick run to make the score 64-58. Scoggin did once again push the lead up for Nebraska following another 2-of-2 at the foul line. Then, with a Markowski layup and a Shelley 3-pointer, the Huskers were up 71-58. After a Bulldog layup, Scoggin dropped in her third and fourth 3-pointers of the game, which now made the score 77-60.
The run only continued for Nebraska. When Drake got another basket, the score was now 81-62. Weidner then made it 83-62 with two straight free throws. Stewart continued her productive outing, making it 86-62 with a 3-pointer. Then, when the Bulldogs put up a layup, freshman guard Ruby Porter responded with a 3-pointer. The buzzer soon went and the Huskers had the 89-68 victory.
With the win, Nebraska is now 11-0 on the season and are one of only seven teams in college basketball that remain undefeated. The Huskers’ next game will be their final nonconference showdown of the regular season.
The team is set to play Wyoming for a 12 p.m. tipoff on Dec. 22. The game can be viewed on Big Ten Plus and can be listened to on Huskers Radio Network.