Nebraska women’s basketball suffered its third loss in four games, as the team lost to the Clemson Tigers at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday night. The Huskers came close, but lost in the end by a score of 67-66, dropping their record to 4-3 on the season.
Two different performances from the Huskers highlighted the first half, as Nebraska thoroughly dominated Clemson in the first five minutes of the frame, but found themselves struggling during the final five minutes.
After taking a commanding 8-0 lead on the Tigers, Clemson came back with a 8-2 run, bringing the game to a competitive 10-8 score, with the Huskers barely hanging onto their lead. Both teams traded back-and-forth baskets to finish off the first quarter, and Clemson held a 15-14 lead heading into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw a change of pace for both teams. Right out of the gate, sophomore guard Hannah Whitish drained two quick three pointers and freshman guard, Taylor Kissinger scored a trey of her own, putting Clemson on their heels. The Tigers fought back, but could not stop the downpour of shots from beyond the arc, as sophomore guard Nicea Eliely capitalized on another open chance from Clemson.
After a questionable call against the Huskers, coach Amy Williams received a technical foul, giving Clemson two more chances at the free throw line. The successful free throws, along with the chances from the line off the initial foul, gave Clemson a 42-38 at the end of the first half.
Clemson’s Danielle Edwards had an explosive first half, recording 21 points on 5-10 shooting. Edwards also contributed to the Tigers’ defensive efforts, with two steals on the half. Nebraska had difficulties defending the junior guard, and Clemson continued to feed her the ball.
Turnovers from both teams plagued the first half, with Nebraska turning the ball over 14 times while the Tigers lost possession eight times. Nebraska also had foul troubles in during the first two frames, sending Clemson to the line 14 times. Clemson capitalized on this, scoring 13 points from the foul line in the first half.
The foul troubles continued for Nebraska, with Kissinger catching a stray hand to the face halfway through the third quarter. In protest, the Husker bench complained to the referees, causing another technical foul on Nebraska.
Clemson kept its distance from the Huskers for most of the third quarter. A combination of fouls and solid play from Edwards helped the Tigers take a nine point lead on the Huskers. Kissinger hit a momentum changing three pointer, before Keniece Purvins intentionally fouled senior guard Jasmine Cincore, giving senior guard Emily Wood two free throws, and possession to Nebraska. These plays helped keep the Huskers in the game, but Clemson still took a 58-54 lead into the final quarter.
Nebraska turned the complexion of the game around in the fourth quarter, as the Huskers capitalized on game changing plays and locked down on defense to bring the game back to even at 61-61.
Then, Kissinger scored another three pointer to give Nebraska a 64-61 point lead. Clemson fought back cutting the Husker lead to 66-65,and continued to disrupt NU, forcing coach Amy Williams to use two timeouts in a matter of seconds.
A mid-range shot put the Tigers up by one with 38 seconds left in regulation.
Nebraska had one final chance to take the game, but a missed layup by sophomore guard, Hannah Whitish sealed the game in favor of Clemson by a score of 67-66.
Offensively, Kissinger recorded 17 points, while on the defensive side of the ball, freshman center Kate Cain recorded a career high six blocks. Nebraska found scoring from almost everyone on its team, but could not translate that into a victory.
Edwards largely contributed to Clemson’s success. She finished with 33 points on 9-15 shooting, making five three pointers and went 10-10 from the free throw line. On defense, Edwards recorded four steals and helped Clemson improve its record to 5-2 on the season.
After the game in a postgame press conference, coach Amy Williams spoke about the disappointing loss.
“This is a tough loss for our team,” Williams said. “I think that we felt that we had plenty of opportunities and we want to be able to protect our home court and we did not do that at the end. Ultimately we feel like there were a lot of things that went into it, but a very tough team loss for us tonight.”
Hannah Whitish spoke about Nebraska’s technical fouls and how they impacted the team.
“As a team, on the court, we huddled up before we went over to coach and we just said ‘we need to stick together,’” Whitish said. “Even in huddles at halftime we talked about how we need to stick together when those types of things happen, because they are going to happen, those are things we can’t control.”
The Huskers face off with Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game can be streamed on BTN Plus.