Nebraska women’s basketball played its first of two games at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas, Nevada against the University of Southern California on Friday. The Huskers finished the game victorious, defeating USC 67-54.
After suffering a 79-74 loss to in-state rival Creighton on Sunday, the Huskers came into the game with one objective in mind.
Sophomore forward Leigha Brown led the team with 16 points in the win. Behind Brown was senior guard Nicea Eliely with 12 points and junior center Kate Cain with 10. Cain also had five rebounds and her 200th career block. Junior guard/forward Taylor Kissinger and freshman forward Isabelle Bourne both contributed eight points as well.
On the night, Nebraska finished with a shooting percentage of 46 percent (29-63), a 3-point percentage of 27.8 percent (5-18) and a free throw percentage of 50 percent (4-8). On the other side, USC was held to shooting percentage of 32.8 percent (22-67), a 3-point percentage of 25.9 percent (7-27) and a free throw percentage of 75 percent (3-4).
Throughout most of the first quarter, it was a back-and-forth battle as the biggest lead of the quarter was just five points. Eliely dropped eight of her 12 points in the first quarter, scoring the team’s second field goal just a minute into the game, and then knocking two 3-pointers later on. Cain also landed six points in the period, including the game’s first points. USC ended the quarter with a 22-20 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Huskers to snatch the lead right back as Kissinger knocked in a 3-pointer to begin the second quarter. The teams continued to trade points as the score became 30-28 in favor of the Huskers with three minutes left to go in the half. Nebraska then extended its lead as Kissinger put an exclamation point on a 9-3 run with a 3-pointer, sending the Huskers into halftime up 39-31.
USC came out of the half strong as it opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run to tie the game up at 39. The Huskers attempted to pull ahead, but USC stuck with them all the way to the end of the third as they went into the final quarter deadlocked at 52.
It all came crashing down on USC in the fourth as the Huskers held the Trojans to just two points, which came off of free throws. Nebraska put up 15 points in the period, including a 3-pointer by senior guard Hannah Whitish that put the nail in the coffin. Whitish finished the game with seven points and five assists. Whitish also surpassed two-time WNBA All-Star and former Husker Anna DeForge at No. 8 on the Nebraska career assist list with 393.
With this win, the Huskers improve to 6-1 on the year with their next game tomorrow night against Sacred Heart University in their second game of the South Point Shootout.