On the road against Drake, Nebraska women’s basketball got out to an early lead.
In fact, the advantage came so early that when the game tipped off, the Huskers already led 1-0.
This fact wasn’t due to a scorekeeping mishap, but rather an administrative technical foul before the game began. The lights that go off when the shot clock expires were not working correctly at the Knapp Center, so Jaz Shelley was sent to the line and made the technical free throw.
That point allowed the Huskers to lead for the first 23 seconds before Drake made its first shot, accounting for nearly a quarter of their 100 total seconds leading in the game. All of that time came in the first few minutes of the contest before the Bulldogs took control and cruised to an 80-62 win over Nebraska on Saturday.
This was Nebraska’s second double-digit road loss of the week, as it lost 77-51 against Creighton on Tuesday. This game featured a similar script, as the Huskers couldn’t get out of their own way offensively and the opponent had little trouble scoring. They shot 31% in both games and faced double-digit deficits before halftime.
Midway through the second quarter, it looked as though Nebraska may not be in for a repeat letdown. Drake, which took No. 4 Iowa to overtime in its last game, led 21-12 at the end of the first quarter and hit a 3-pointer to start the second. Then, unlike Tuesday, the Huskers responded. Alexis Markowski hit two layups, the second being an and-one that she converted, to get the offense going. A few minutes later, an Allison Weidner layup capped off a 12-0 Nebraska run that tied the game at 24.
Maggie Bair, who had scored Drake’s only basket of the quarter, gave the Bulldogs back the lead with another 3-pointer. She made two more shots in the final stretch of the period and threw a nice pass into the paint for another Bulldog bucket. Bair was the driving force of a 14-2 Drake run to end the half, in which the only Husker points were a pair of free throws from Shelley.
At halftime, the Huskers’ 26 points were less than they had at the break of the 51-point showing against Creighton. They had some things pointing in their favor, such as the 13 turnovers forced in the half, but couldn’t convert those opportunities into points. They shot 9-for-36, while also turning it over nine times themselves. Meanwhile, the shots the Bulldogs actually had the chance to take went in more often than not. Drake shot 60.8% in the half and 60% from beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs cut down a bit on turnovers in the second half while keeping their offensive firepower. Nebraska’s offense showed more life too, but not nearly enough to climb back into the game. For the third straight quarter, Markowski opened Nebraska’s scoring, hitting a 3-pointer to bring the deficit back to single digits. Bair hit back-to-back layups soon after, and the teams went back-and-forth for most of the quarter, ending in 60-45 Drake advantage going into the final period.
That score was nearly identical to the 44-60 deficit the Huskers faced going into the fourth quarter against Creighton. Nebraska didn’t fall apart offensively this time around, but 17 fourth-quarter points weren’t even enough to match Drake’s 20 in the quarter.
Markowski scored 21 points by the time the final buzzer sounded, with her work in the paint being Nebraska’s most successful offense in the game. Even she still shot 8-for-18, being the only Nebraska starter to shoot over 33.3%.
After the loss to Creighton, head coach Amy Williams lamented that the Bluejays were able to get all the shots they wanted in their 45-point first half. That defensive performance didn’t seem to shift much against Drake, as the Bulldogs found easy looks consistently in their 55.4% shooting performance. The Huskers also didn’t block a shot. That only happened once last year in a loss to Penn State, and they tied their season-high with seven rejections against the Bulldogs last season.
Kate Dinnebier led Drake with 18 points, followed by 17 from Bair and 16 from Sarah Beth Gueldner.
The 2-2 Huskers will return home next week to face Tarleton on Tuesday before ending November with two games at the Puerto Rico Clasico.