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Sam Haiby (4) drives to the basket against Indiana at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

After Nebraska women’s basketball’s 82-71 victory over No. 24 Michigan State on Sunday, head coach Amy Williams said the team adopted a new mentality for the end of the regular season.

“Right now it’s time for us to shift to what can we do right here today to win the day and to focus on those right now and today goals,” Williams said.

Nebraska currently sits at 12-14 (7-8 Big Ten) with three opponents — Northwestern, No. 10 Iowa and Penn State — left on its regular season schedule. Each game will be crucial if the team is to have any postseason success and will require the team’s full and undivided attention.

According to ESPN’s bracketology, the Huskers’ resume is nowhere near good enough to get them into the NCAA tournament. This means Nebraska’s tourney bid hopes mostly comes down to winning the Big Ten tournament. That will also be no easy task.

With its record, Nebraska is in 10th place in the Big Ten standings and if the team were to fall one more spot, they would have to play in the opening round instead of getting a first-round bye in the tournament.

On the other hand, the Huskers are just two games behind fourth place Michigan in the conference standings and one game out of fifth place of which four teams are tied for. It’s not out of the question that Nebraska could put themselves in a much better position come Big Ten tournament time.  

To accomplish this, it goes back to what Williams referred to as “microscope goals” — improving day by day and game by game.

“We talked as a team about wanting to play one-game seasons and from here on out and be the very best versions of ourselves today,” Williams said.

In other words, Nebraska is not focused on going 3-0 to close out the regular season. Rather they are focused on finishing 1-0 three times.

Seven of the 11 players on the Huskers’ roster are in their first or second year on the team, but Williams does not want to use inexperience as an excuse for the team’s struggles.

“We don’t really want to get into any type of excuses because I think anytime you start looking for reasons to try to explain shortcomings it’s always going to come off as an excuse,” Williams said. “For us, all we try to do is to really self evaluate and identify areas where we can improve and then go to work to improve them.”

Williams identified the areas the team can improve the most after Sunday’s contest against the Spartans.

“We still got outrebounded today,” Williams said. “That’s not something where we feel like we’ve arrived in that area. We can definitely improve there. Also, we’re not thrilled with the fact that we had 22 turnovers.”

Nebraska’s first chance to improve as the 2018-19 regular season winds down is against Northwestern. This contest highlights another area where Nebraska can improve which is closing out close games. Nebraska played 12 games that were decided by two possessions or less this season and is 3-9 in those contests. One of those losses was a 58-54 defeat against Northwestern on Thursday, Jan. 24.

Tip-off for the Northwestern game is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21. The game will air on BTN Plus.

sports@dailynebraskan.com