It was a game of runs, and the Huskers’ final push came up just short. In a battle of teams atop the Big Ten standings, it was Rutgers (14-2, 4-1 Big Ten) who took a 69-65 win over the Huskers (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten).
The Huskers, powered all day by red-hot shooting from beyond the arc, opened the action with an 11-2 run to begin the game. Sophomore forward Ashtyn Veerbeek had two of her career-high four triples in the first three minutes to help NU jump out of the gates.
Rutgers answered with its own 11-0 run and the two sides went into the second quarter knotted at 18-all.
With 2:09 to play before the half, Nebraska held a 32-27 lead that would completely vanish by halftime. Rutgers closed with an 8-0 spurt to take a three-point lead into the locker room.
The two went back and forth for the first five minutes of the third, but an 11-2 Rutgers run over the final 4:57 gave the Scarlet Knights an 11-point lead heading into the fourth.
Nebraska fell down by as many as 15 in the opening minutes of the fourth, but over a three-minute span midway through the frame, the Huskers came roaring back with an 11-0 run, initiated by two 3s from Veerbeek and wing Leigha Brown in a 25-second span and punctuated by an and-one opportunity for freshman forward Isabelle Bourne.
With 3:07 to play, Bourne converted to make it a four-point game.
Twenty-one seconds later, guard Khadaizha Sanders drilled a 3. A minute later, Rutgers got four points from the free-throw line in a 16-second span and that was enough to break the comeback bid.
Rutgers missed seven of its final eight shots from the field, as well as seven free throws in the final minute of play, but the hole was too deep for Nebraska to overcome and seconds on the clock too few.
The Huskers tied a season-high with 12 made 3s on 24 attempts. Veerbeek had 14 points to lead her teammates, but guard Hannah Whitish was the only other Husker to reach double-figures in the scoring column. The Huskers were just 11-for-34 from inside the arc, and finished at a season-low 39.7% from the floor. Rutgers also took 17 Nebraska turnovers and turned them into 21 points.
The road trip has one more stop for Nebraska: College Park for a meeting with 17th-ranked Maryland (12-4, 3-2 Big Ten). Tip is set for Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. CT.