Photo Credit: John Peterson

Huskers Beat Houston Christian 79-48 After Slow Offensive Start

November 11, 2022

Nearly seven minutes into the first quarter on Friday night, Nebraska women’s basketball held just a two-point lead over Houston Christian.

The Huskers appeared to follow up a 100-point season-opening performance with another solid start. After allowing the first basket of the game, they scored nine straight go up 9-2.

However, the offense sputtered for a moment. After Isabelle Bourne’s layup gave Nebraska the seven-point lead, it missed seven straight shots during a three-and-a-half minute scoring drought. Two were blocked by Marilyn Nzoiwu, who scored the Huskies’ first four points before a 3-pointer from N’Denasija Collins made it 9-7.

While last year’s Southland Conference champions may not have had the talent on paper to match up with No. 22 Nebraska, Houston Christian’s starting lineup of all seniors found ways to bother the Huskers with their size.

That wasn’t enough though, as the Huskers went on a 16-0 run in the second quarter to spark a 79-48 victory.

“I felt like this was a good quality win for us over a team that we knew we really had to respect,” Amy Williams said postgame. “I was quite impressed today with their length and activity on the defensive side of the ball, so we had to make some adjustments and I thought they did a good job of really trying to slow the pace. So for our team to kind of make the tweak after a 15-point first quarter and still reach 79 points was kind of good.”

The Huskers extended the lead to 17 by halftime, but still had some struggles, turning it over four times in the second period and being outscored 11-10 in the final six minutes of the half.

“There was kind of some mixed emotions in the locker room at halftime,” Williams said. “Just feeling good about some things and feeling like there was definitely some things that we need to kind of shore up, but one thing we knew was that the first five minutes of the second half were going to be really important for us to come out and kind of set the tone.”

The Huskers succeeded in that goal, leading by 27 at the end of the third quarter to effectively seal the game. That was helped by a 14-0 run early in the period. Allison Weidner contributed to that stretch with a layup off an offensive rebound and an and-one. She scored seven points in the quarter, and replicated that in the fourth.

Following up a 19-point, nine-rebound performance against Nebraska-Omaha, Weidner recorded a team-high 20 points and seven boards against the Huskies. Three of those rebounds were on the offensive end.

“I love the fact that she led us in scoring but I love even more that she was our leading rebounder and had the most offensive rebounds on the team and I think it just shows great activity,” Williams said. “I thought she picked the ball up in the backcourt and really caused some havoc and had great ball pressure.”

Weidner only topped 18 points once in her freshman season in a 23-point outing, and now has done so twice in two games on 70.8% shooting.

“I feel like I’m playing pretty confident,” Weidner said postgame. “My teammates make it easy by finding me open shots and setting solid screens and sealing so I can get to the rim, so just playing confident and having fun out there.”

Shelley also showed a continuation of her opening performance. She had four steals and 10 assists in the season opener, and tonight she put up five steals and eight assists. According to her, the two go hand-in-hand.

“I think I’m probably most effective when I can get a steal or I can get a defensive rebound where I can go and push it out in transition,” Shelley said. “Players on the team run the floor really, really well. So it’s kind of pick someone at that point because we have so many runners which is really positive.”

After two blowout wins to open the year, the Huskers head into a bigger challenge. On Tuesday, Nebraska will stay in the state for its first road game, facing off against No. 21 Creighton. The Bluejays beat No. 23 South Dakota State in their first game of the year, then took down South Dakota. They’ll play their first home game of the season against Nebraska.

In the meantime, Williams will be working to help the team improve in the areas they’ve struggled thus far.

“I’m pleased with the potential of this group,” she said. “We certainly are not a finished product and we’ve got plenty of room for improvement but I think this group is very exciting and we feel like that we can get to be one of the best teams in the country and so we’ve got to just shore some things up.”

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