Nebraska’s Ashley Scoggin (0) drives past a defender during the game against Rutgers at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb 1, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Throughout the season, Nebraska women’s basketball had won through its high-powered offense. Coming into Tuesday, Nebraska was putting up an average of 81.2 points per game and scored over 60 points in every game. 

That offense was certainly rocked following tonights’ showdown for the Huskers, defeating lowly Rutgers by the mere score of 50-38 on Tuesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

50 points mark Nebraska’s lowest scoring game of the season by far, and is the lowest combined score (88) in any game involving Nebraska since February 1977, when the Huskers lost to Nebraska-Omaha 52-36. 

“We’re definitely working on it,” sophomore guard Jaz Shelley said postgame. “We know the areas we need to improve on.”

A part of the reason for the Huskers’ peculiar game was the fact that just two nights ago they had played Purdue. This in turn, according to Wiliams, didn’t give Nebraska much time to properly prepare for its next game. 

“We didn’t take any time to watch film from our previous game,” Nebraska women’s basketball head coach Amy Williams said postgame. “We just watched film on Rutgers and tried preparing for it. We’re trying to evaluate ourselves as well, but as a team collectively, it’s a little more challenging with a one-day prep.”

The Huskers were also held to their lowest percentage in field goal shooting (27.9%) and 3-point shooting (19.4%) of the season. But, as Williams said, the defense made sure the Scarlet Knights didn’t take advantage of the abnormally poor offensive performance. 

“If you can shoot 27% and still win a ball game, that’s a pretty good sign for your team,” Williams said. “I’m glad we proved it to ourselves that we can win with defense. But, I do hope we never have to shoot 27% ever again.”

On the night, Nebraska held Rutgers to 16-of-49 from the field, 1-of-8 from 3-point range and 5-of-12 from the free throw line. The Huskers also outrebounded the Scarlet Knights 45-38 and held a 12-8 advantage in steals. 

“We’re very versatile, so we can win in a lot of different ways,” Williams said. “This way today, we had to grind one out. It was pretty ugly on the offensive side, but credit to both defenses for fighting and making things difficult.”

Leading Nebraska on both sides of the ball was freshman center Alexis Markowski, who finished the game with 16 points and her season-high of15 rebounds, making it her third double-double on the season. The freshman also led the team at the free throw line, going 6-of-6. 

The only other Husker to finish with double-digit points was junior guard Sam Haiby with 12. Nine of Haiby’s 12 points came from 3-point range. 

Despite most of the game being a low-scoring bout, there were still spurts of offensive plays. In the first quarter, 19 of the 26 total points came in the latter half of the period. Nebraska quickly struck first from tipoff with a layup by Markowski. But it would be nearly two minutes later before another score was made, which was by Haiby knocking in a 3-pointer to make the game 5-0. Nearly three minutes after that, Rutgers got on the board with a jumper. 

Then, the first offensive spurt came in. After the Scarlet Knights swiftly tossed in a jumper and a layup to go up 6-5, Markowski grabbed a Haiby miss to put her team back on top 7-6. This was then followed by a layup from junior forward Bella Cravens to make it 9-6. 

Momentum started brewing for the Huskers as freshman guard Ruby Porter snatched a steal and bounced it over to Shelley who coasted in for a layup. Porter once again delivered, this time a 3-pointer from the corner, which was the last score of the quarter, putting Nebraska up 16-10. 

Despite the pace picking up near the end of the first, the second quarter began much like the previous one. The scoring drought returned, neither team scoring for over two minutes before Markowski ended the drought with two straight points from the foul line. Sophomore forward Isabelle Bourne mirrored Markowski not long after, giving Nebraska a 20-10 lead. 

Senior guard Mi’Cole Cayton then landed a 3-pointer, which was then followed by a Rutgers jumper and a Markowski layup. The scoring would mostly stop as a nearly three-minute scoreless period commenced. Nebraska went into halftime up just 27-18.

The second half didn’t skip a beat from the first as neither team could land many of its shots early on in the third quarter. Once again, Markowski ended the scoreless drought at the foul line, pushing the Huskers lead to 29-18 two minutes into the half. A potential breakthrough was brewing as both teams scored within 20 seconds of each other, making the score 31-20. 

But like a broken record, yet another scoreless phase of the game appeared. It was Rutgers’ turn to break the streak, which it did with an abrupt 8-2 run, cutting Nebraska’s lead to 33-28. But when the third quarter entered its final minute, a quick jolt of points came through with Haiby slipping in an and-one layup.

Rutgers, within just over a minute in the fourth quarter, sliced the lead to 36-34. But then Haiby landed her second 3-pointer of the game to push the lead up to 39-34. Two minutes later, Shelley knocked in a 3-pointer to make it 42-34. Nearly three minutes later, Haiby popped another 3-pointer from the corner to make it 45-34. Markowski laid in a layup shortly after to make it 47-34. Following two more free throws by Markowski, the score was now 49-34 with under two minutes left in the game. 

Nebraska had dropped a 13-0 across a span of nearly seven minutes, scoring less than a basket per minute. The Scarlet Knights did put up two points of their own too but with how the pace of the overall game had been, the Huskers had secured the win. 

“I’m proud of how we finished,” Markowski said postgame. “It was a messy game, not our cleanest, shots weren’t falling. But to finish like that, not allowing Rutgers to score for nearly seven minutes is huge. We knew we needed to do that, and I’m proud of that.”

With the 50-38 win, Nebraska is now 16-4 on the season and 5-4 in conference play. Nebraska completes its four-game stretch with another home game against Penn State on Feb. 3. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be viewed on Big Ten Network or listened to on Husker Radio Network.