Kate Cain produced her first double-double of the season—16 points and a season-high 12 boards—Nebraska put four others in double-figures scoring, and Nebraska rolled to a 78-69 win over Iowa (9-3, 0-1 Big Ten) at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Cain, a junior center, hit six of her 11 shots from the field as the Huskers opened Big Ten play with a win, moving them to 11-1 on the season.
Senior Nicea Eliely added a strong game with 12 points, four rebounds and a game-high five assists (without a turnover) to help the Huskers. Hannah Whitish, another senior, put up 11 points, three boards and three assists. As a team, Nebraska turned it over just 13 times, forced 18 Hawkeye turnovers and scored 24 points off them.
Sophomores Sam Haiby and Leigha Brown each pitched in 10 points, while freshman Isabelle Bourne added a lift off the bench with career highs of eight points and seven assists. All of Bourne's eight points came in a 1:20 span late in the second quarter for the Huskers, as she helped Nebraska take its biggest lead of the first half at 35-27. Bourne's eight points capped a stretch of 14 consecutive points by the NU bench, which started with a triple by senior point guard Kristian Hudson and the first 3-pointer of freshman guard Trinity Brady's career.
Nebraska held a lead the rest of the way. Iowa narrowed the margin to 38-34 at the half, and then further trimmed it down to 42-41 with 7:20 left in the third quarter, but Nebraska closed the third strong, pushing the lead back to five after 30 minutes, and then never let Iowa closer in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska's defense was stellar throughout, holding the 11th-best shooting team in the country (by shooting percentage) to just 36.8% from the field and 6-of-20 from 3. The Hawkeyes hit just 3-of-15 from the field in the fourth period. Nebraska, conversely, hit 43.5% from the field, 36.8% from deep and 17-of-24 from the free-throw line.
Nebraska improved to 15-14 all-time in the series with Iowa. The two will meet again at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Feb. 6.
Nebraska makes its first Big Ten Conference road trip of the season on New Year's Eve when it travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. Tip-off is scheduled for noon (CT) on BTN.