Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Sam Haiby takes a jump shot against the Idaho State Bengals on December 6, 2020 at Pinnacle Bank
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Haiby Takes Over In Fourth To Lead Nebraska To Road Win At Minnesota

December 06, 2021

She shot just 28.6% from the field overall, but when her team needed her the most, Sam Haiby came through against her hometown team.

Behind 10 clutch points in the fourth quarter from Haiby, the Nebraska women’s basketball team beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers 70-67 on the road Monday night to stay undefeated at 9-0. Haiby, from Moorhead, Minnesota, not far from Minneapolis where the game was played, finished with 13 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Nebraska’s largest lead was 27-14 in the second quarter, but the Gophers never went away thanks to the play of Kadi Sissoko and Sara Scalia. The 6-foot-2 Sissoko, who’s from France, was on fire Monday night and scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field. The sharpshooter Scalia added 20 points and was hitting from behind the arc, making 4-of-6 3-pointers.

Minnesota, which was without one of its leading scorers and assisters, Jasmine Powell, who was out with a lower-body injury, outscored Nebraska 17-8 in the second quarter, which cut the Huskers’ lead to 33-31 at halftime. Nebraska head coach Amy Williams said she thought the Gophers did a good job of trying to read how the Huskers were defending, and then took advantage of it.

“They just put Scalia in some one-on-one action, and Sissoko as well, kind of cleared out for her a little bit and did some ball-screen action,” Williams said after the game to the Husker Radio Network. “But I thought they (Minnesota) just did a good job of staying aggressive and continuing to stay in attack mode.”

The Huskers went on a quick 6-0 run to start the third quarter thanks to a layup from Isabelle Bourne and back-to-back buckets from Bella Cravens. Bourne finished with 10 points while Cravens had 15 points and seven rebounds. 

Minnesota, though, continued to fight. The Gophers ended the third on a 13-4 run and trailed just 50-49 to start the fourth. But the final quarter belonged to Haiby.

After a defensive stop early in the quarter, Haiby drove the length of the court and dished off her sixth assist of the night, this one to the corner for a Jaz Shelley 3 to give Nebraska a 53-49 lead. Shelley had 15 points, five assists, four rebounds and three blocks.

A Scalia 3 and Deja Winters layup put Nebraska in a 61-57 hole midway through the fourth, but that was as close as the Gophers would come to the upset. Nebraska finished the game on a 13-6 run that included three Haiby layups through traffic and two more points from the free-throw line. Haiby went 5-of-6 at the line in the win.

“I thought she really wanted the ball in her hands late, and that’s comforting and something that our team really needs,” Williams said of Haiby. “So, to watch that happen here today was awesome. I thought she was confident, she made a couple big plays when we needed them, she made some big free throws when we needed them, and the one time that she missed a layup, she sprinted back and came up with a really big rebound.

“So it’s that experience paying off. Something that we really value in our program is the number of minutes Sam has been able to play in a Husker uniform. She’s a special Husker and I’m glad she was wearing red today.”

Nebraska, which came into the game shooting 42.4% from 3-point range, had an off night from deep and went just 4-of-19 for 21.1%. With the long ball not falling, the Huskers took to the paint, where they outscored Minnesota 42-26.

Next up for Nebraska is a three-game homestand against non-conference competition. On Saturday the Huskers will host Indiana State. Then on Sunday, Dec. 19, the Drake Bulldogs come to Lincoln. The homestand will end with a game against Wyoming on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

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