With 7:12 to play in the second quarter, freshman forward Isabelle Bourne gave Nebraska a one-point lead on the road against a Minnesota Gopher team that entered the evening 11th in the Big Ten standings, 12-8 on the year and 2-7 in Big Ten play.
From the time that jumper fell in the second quarter, until a Minnesota layup with 4:01 remaining in the fourth quarter, Nebraska held the lead for 22:49 of 23 minutes. Nebraska has been looking to rebound from a four-game stretch that saw it drop three games; this late in the year, it couldn’t afford to drop any games against the conference’s weaker teams.
But that Minnesota layup with 4:01 remaining, that was part of a 13-2 run that took Minnesota from down six to up five with two minutes to play. It became an 18-6 run to close the game. That was enough to send the Huskers (15-6, 5-5 Big Ten) limping home with a 67-61 loss.
NU had six turnovers in the fourth quarter that led to six Minnesota points, including that layup from Jasmine Powell with four minutes to play. Turnovers were a thorn in Nebraska’s side all night; Big Red had 22 of them, a season-high, but still the fifth time in its last six games it’s posted a double-digit number in that column.
Powell had 19 points to lead the Gophers. Three others reached double-figures scoring. Nebraska had the deeper bench (a rotation that went five-deep compared to Minnesota’s two-woman bench) but it was Minnesota who was fresher in that fourth quarter. The Gophers had a more balanced offense. Husker guards Sam Haiby and Leigha Brown combined to shoot 11-for-30 from the field.
The Huskers now find themselves in unfamiliar territory on the year. The 13-2 start Nebraska enjoyed to open the campaign was the best 15-game start to a season since the Huskers joined the Big Ten. But four of the last six games have ended in losses, three of them coming on the road.
Nebraska is 11-2 at home but just 2-4 in true road games.
Whether it’s still trying to adjust roles for the absence of 3-point sharpshooter Taylor Kissinger, or something else, Nebraska is struggling of late to find consistent shooting.
Starting point guard Hannah Whitish had 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from deep, but she had the Huskers’ only two makes from beyond the arc. Brown was 0-for-2 and Haiby was 0-for-4. No one else attempted a shot from the perimeter.
The 3-point shooting, as a team this season, has seriously dropped off. A 2-for-9 performance has NU down to 33% from beyond the arc.
The Huskers return home to host Ohio State on Sunday, Feb. 2. Tip-off in that one is set for 2 p.m. CT.