Capturing Nebraska women’s basketball’s 20th win of the season did not come easy.
After a tumultuous week that saw an assistant coach suspended and a player leave the roster, the Huskers prevailed in a 23-point victory over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. The win marked the second time in the last six seasons under Nebraska head coach Amy Williams that the team has had at least 20 wins in a season, with the first coming in the 2017-2018 season.
The Huskers scored 93 points against the Golden Gophers, the first time Nebraska surpassed 90 points since Nov. 20, when it scored 113 points against North Carolina Central. Against Minnesota Nebraska was led by freshman guard Allison Weidner in just her third start.
Weidner finished the game with 23 points on 8-of-10 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from the 3-point line. The Humphrey, Nebraska native added five rebounds and one assist in 25 minutes played.
Three other Huskers also finished with double-digit points in sophomore center Isabelle Bourne, freshman forward/center Alexis Markowski and junior guard Sam Haiby. Sophomore guard Jaz Shelley added to the offensive showcase, notching 12 assists despite going 1-of-9 from the field.
Nebraska, along with its stellar offensive display, mustered a near-perfect defensive game plan against the Golden Gophers. The Golden Gophers rank No. 8 nationally in 3-point shooting percentage, at 37.7%, but shot just 22% against Nebraska.
Along with their stout defensive play from outside the arc, the Huskers out-rebounded the Golden Gophers 39-28 and had seven steals.
Nebraska will have to string along two more games with similar sound play to close out the season with needed confidence. The first of those games comes on Wednesday, when Nebraska heads to Madison, Wisconsin to take on Wisconsin for the second time this season.
In their first matchup, the Huskers dominated in a 77-44 victory over the Badgers. Wisconsin currently sits with a 7-19 overall record and 4-12 in the Big Ten, good for 12th overall.
The Huskers have a more than favorable chance of winning against the Badgers with a 94.3% chance. Despite a favorable chance of winning and an already proven game plan to beat Wisconsin, Nebraska will still have to overcome its woes of playing on the road as well as limiting the Badgers’ top two scorers.
The Badgers have leaned heavily on a pair of junior guards this season in Julie Pospisilova and Sydney Hilliard. The two guards lead the way in the scoring column as Pospisilova averages 13.8 points per game and Hillard averages 12.8 per game.
In the last contest against the Huskers, Pospisilova and Hilliard combined for 28 of the 44 Badger points. The two Wisconsin juniors will try to pose a problem for Nebraska but the Husker defense has proven capable of holding them in check along with the rest of the team.
Wisconsin, on average, sees 32.4% of its points come from 3-point range. That mark ranks No. 73 nationally.
The Badgers top 3-point shooter, freshman guard Krystyna Ellew, leads the team with a 37.1% 3-point percentage on 3.4 3-point attempts a game. The Chicago, Illinois native only scored three points in the last contest against the Huskers but did drop 11 points on 2-of-4 from 3-point range in the Badgers most recent contest, a 59-42 loss against Ohio State.
Nebraska will try to replicate the outcome of its last contest with Wisconsin by using its efficient and explosive offense coupled with a potent defensive unit.
Tipoff for the game will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 23 and can be viewed on Big Ten Plus.