Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Alexis Markowski’s Fourth Quarter Pushes Huskers to Comeback Win Over Purdue

January 18, 2023

Entering the fourth quarter, all the ingredients for a Nebraska loss were in place.

The Huskers, having struggled on the road this season, trailed by eight points in Purdue’s Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers had just scored 25 points in the third quarter, and their 10 free throws in the period showed somewhat of a physical advantage. Nebraska’s 3-pointers, which it had relied on heavily recently, weren’t falling often. Jaz Shelley was once again being held scoreless. With the score 46-54 with 10 minutes to play, recent history indicated the Huskers were heading toward their fifth loss in the last five games.

Then, Alexis Markowski took over. The sophomore center outscored and outrebounded Purdue by herself in the final quarter, and the Huskers outscored the Boilermakers 23-8 in that span to win 71-64.

“We did not play our best game, but found a way to show great resiliency and bounce back and I was really proud of the grit and toughness, we had different players really stepping up at different times in this ballgame and carrying us.” head coach Amy Williams said postgame on Huskers Radio Network. “… Alexis Markowski kind of came alive and just showed great determination in that fourth quarter.”

Markowski finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, as 11 of those points and six of the boards came in the fourth quarter. She worked the paint well in that final stretch, scoring nine of the team’s first 14 fourth-quarter points to give the Huskers their first lead since the opening half. The last of those buckets, which put Nebraska up 62-60, featured her tipping an offensive rebound to herself and laying it in over a Purdue defender.

The Boilermakers entered the quarter having outrebounded Nebraska 28-19. They had just five boards in the final quarter, however, less than Markowski’s six and certainly less than the Huskers’ 12.

The center didn’t have the best start to Wednesday night’s contest. She exited the game less than two minutes in, appearing to suffer an ankle injury. She limped off the court, but returned minutes later.

Meanwhile, Nebraska appeared to be in for another slow start. Freshman Callin Hake, making her first career start, hit an early three, but a 7-0 Purdue run put the Boilermakers up 11-3. The Huskers responded, however, scoring the next 10 points and ending the quarter with a 19-16 advantage. The final six points of the period were scored by Maddie Krull, who came off the bench because she had been dealing with an illness recently. That didn’t stop her from turning in her third double-digit performance in the last four games.

The middle two quarters were rough for the Huskers. Purdue took its lead back, forcing a nearly five-minute Husker scoring drought and working its way to a three-point advantage before Sam Haiby cut it back to a one-point difference with a layup right before halftime.

Abbey Ellis was the star of the opening half, scoring 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting. She hit three 3-pointers, matching Nebraska’s first half total from beyond the arc.

Even with Ellis scoring just three more points in the third quarter, Purdue came out of halftime strong. Caitlyn Harper drew two straight shooting fouls on Alexis Markowski to give her three fouls, then when Maggie Mendelson came in for Markowski, Jeanae Terry gave the freshman forward her third foul. Minutes later, Harper forced another forward, Annika Stewart, into a foul, and made two more free throws to push the Purdue advantage to nine points.

The teams went back-and-forth over the final five minutes of the quarter, and back-to-back Purdue threes with a Krull layup sandwiched in between put the Boilermakers up eight going into the last quarter.

While Markowski may have dominated the period, she got plenty of help as the Huskers rallied. Hake got scoring started in the quarter by driving to the rim, drawing a foul and making one of two free throws. Haiby drew an intentional foul on a fastbreak opportunity, making one of the two free throws before the ensuing possession resulted in a Markowski and-one. Kendall Moriarty made a three off a pass from Markowski, and with the Huskers up one, Krull hit a shot from deep off of a nice pass from Isabelle Bourne.

Bourne scored just three points in the game, and through 39 minutes of game time, Shelley was held scoreless. In the final 30 seconds, however, she hit four free throws to seal the win.

As Williams opened with postgame, it wasn’t the prettiest performance for the Huskers. Still, they exited with a number of things to be happy with besides just the fact that they won. Ellis scored just three second-half points after her blazing hot start. Williams credited Shelley’s defense for that fact. Terry entered the game averaging over seven assists, but was held to a season-low two against the Huskers. Nebraska didn’t need an electric outside shooting performance to win, either.

The Huskers improved to 12-7 with the victory, and moved to 2-5 on the road. Now, they’ll return home to face No. 11 Maryland, the other team they’ve taken down on the road this season. That contest will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

  • Never miss the latest news from Hail Varsity!

    Join our free email list by signing up below.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap