Women's Basketball vs. Indiana State Photo No. 18

Nebraska’s Jaz Shelley (1) drives the ball into the paint during the game against Indiana State at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nebraska women’s basketball advanced to 12-0 after a 72-61 victory over Wyoming on Wednesday afternoon. The Huskers are now one of six teams in Division I women’s college basketball to be undefeated

“It feels good right now,” Nebraska head coach Amy Williams said postgame. “I thought it was not our best game of the season but it feels great to be 12-0. The girls said it just makes for a merrier Christmas.” 

Huskers freshman forward Annika Stewart led the way with a career-high 21 points. Stewart’s breakout game also involved one rebound, three blocks and one steal in her 14 minutes of play. The Minneapolis, Minnesota product finished the day shooting 8-of-13 from the field, 3-of-7 from 3-point range and 2-of-3 from the free throw line. 

“She is dangerous,” Williams said. “[It] looked like early they were going to try to double us or snag down into the post with our other post defender so when you put Anni in when they do that she is a definite threat from the perimeter and can stretch defenses.” 

Other double-digit scorers for the Huskers were sophomore center Isabelle Bourne and sophomore guard Jaz Shelley with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Bourne finished the game with three rebounds and one assist in her 17 minutes to her 13 points. 

Stewart’s contribution led the Huskers to continue their flawless streak but Shelley was another important piece to the puzzle, finishing with her third double-double of the year. Shelley ended the game with 11 rebounds, seven assists and one steal in her 30 minutes of play along with her 12 points. 

“Jaz, she did a great job at times at really just controlling the game knowing that when she pushes with pace that things really open up,” Williams said. “She made a lot of plays, I think the best thing was the effort she put in rebounding.” 

The Huskers, as a whole, finished 28-of-61 from the field, 9-of-25 from 3-point range and 7-of-12 from the free throw line. The Huskers out rebounded the Cowgirls by a slim margin, 39 to the Cowgirls 36. Nebraska finished the game with 17 assists, six blocks and four steals. 

“I didn’t think that this was our most complete ball game of the year,” Williams said. “Certainly credit Wyoming for being very disciplined and I thought no matter what we tried to speed them up they never speed up. They took care of the basketball with only nine turnovers today and just a very solid basketball team. We are just excited to walk away with a win.” 

The Cowgirls got the game started with a 3-pointer from junior guard McKinley Bradshaw just over 30 seconds into the game. The Huskers didn’t stay out of the scoring column for  long as junior guard Sam Haiby scored their first points with a pullup jumper. 

Haiby finished the game with nine points and four rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and going 2-of-3 at the free throw line. 

On the ensuing defensive stop from the Huskers, Shelley nabbed her first rebound of the game and began pushing the ball back to the offensive side of the court. On the possession, Shelley sank her first 3-pointer of the game to give the Huskers a two point lead with 8:08 to go in the first quarter. 

A pair of free throws brought the the Cowgirls to five to tie the game but junior forward Bella Cravens pushed the Huskers back up two. Cowgirls senior guard Alba Sanchez Ramos put Wyoming up one with a 3-pointer. 

Almost a minute later after Sanchez Ramos’ 3-pointer, Bourne pushed the Huskers back up two with a 3-pointer with 5:31 left in the first quarter. 

The Cowgirls captured the lead 18-17 with 40 seconds to go from an and-one layup and ensuing free throw from freshman guard Emily Mellema. Stewart brought the Huskers back in the lead with her second 3-pointer but was closely followed by a Cowgirls 3-pointer from freshman center Allyson Fertig, who had a team-high 16 points, that came with 11 second left in the first quarter. 

The Huskers took the lead right back with a 3-pointer from senior guard Mi’Cole Cayton ending the first quarter 23-20. 

In the second quarter, the Huskers started to run away with the game. Bourne and Haiby hit consecutive 3-pointers to bring Nebraska up 31-24 with 6:28 left to play in the second frame. 

Shelley then brought the Huskers up by nine with a driving layup with 4:54 to go in the first half. Wyoming called timeout, attempting to reset and respond. 

That happened momentarily, with sophomore forward Paula Salazar hitting a 3-pointer to cut Nebraska’s lead to six. Nebraska opened things back up through Steward and Shelley, though, taking a 42-31 lead into the break. 

To start off the second half,  sophomore guard Ashley Scoggin got her only jumper to fall. Afterwards,  the Huskers embarked on a low-scoring 15-8 run that would encapsulate the third quarter. 

Stewart accounted for 10 of Nebraska’s 15 third-quarter points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field, 1-of-3 from 3-point range and 1-of-2 from the free throw line. 

She started her quarter off with a jumper to bring the Huskers up 15. Stewart’s jumper fell with 6:13 remaining, the next five minutes involved only two names: Stewart and Cowgirl sophomore guard Ola Ustowska. 

Ustowska answered the jumper with a driving layup but was followed closely by Stewart’s one and only trip to the line because of a shooting foul. On the ensuing Huskers possession, Stewart scored off of a Cowgirl turnover and an assist by freshman guard Allison Weidner that brought the lead to 16 for the Huskers. 

Right before the final ten minutes of play Haiby went 1-of-2 from the line to bring the Huskers up 57-39. 

“We have so much belief in our team that we know we can come out with the win,” Shelley said postgame. “There was never a doubt in our minds that we couldn’t win this game but we really had the knuckle down on a few things to get some points on the board.”

Entering the final quarter standing between the Huskers and 12-0, Bourne started scoring with a layup to bring the Huskers up 20. 

Wyoming made the final scoreline more respectable with a 19-8 run, but was unable to seriously challenge the Huskers over the final 10 minutes. Shelley, Stewart and Haiby helped secure things down the stretch to ensure a 72-61 victory and 12-0 start

Nebraska enters the holiday break 12-0 but will return to Big Ten play when it comes back from break. The team’s first matchup comes right before the New Year against Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. for a 1:00 p.m. tipoff on Dec. 30. 

“We have a lot that we can prove,” Shelley said. “I know there are a lot of people out there that say we don’t play against the best competition but we know that we are good enough and we know that we want to go out there and show it. I think this underdog mentality is really going to carry over to Big Ten play.”

sports@dailynebraskan.com