Nebraska women’s basketball opened the regular season strong, scoring triple digits in a 100-36 win over Nebraska-Omaha on Monday.
The No. 22 Huskers scored the first 12 points in the game and never looked back. They led by 27 points at halftime, then nearly doubled their lead by scoring 33 points in the third quarter. Every player who played hit at least one 3-pointer, and five scored double-digit points. The strong scoring performance also came with the team not shooting a single free throw.
“I’ve never been a part of something where everybody that was available to play tonight hit a three for us,” head coach Amy Williams said postgame. “And also we didn’t miss any free throws, but we didn’t take any free throws either. Very unique box score for our team but I know that everyone on our team is capable so I’m not fully surprised.”
The Huskers shot it from beyond the arc 34 times in the game, hitting 14 of those shots. The first quarter ended with Kendall Coley hitting Eight of the 10 players who saw minutes only hit one, while Annika Stewart hit two and Maddie Krull hit four.
Krull, who transferred from South Dakota in the offseason, scored 18 points in 21 minutes off the bench.
“She played outstanding,” Williams said. “I told Maddie, obviously she shot the ball really well today and she’s been working hard, getting in the gym and working on that. She contributed outstandingly both offensively, playing with confidence and aggressive, but my favorite play was the charge that she took on the other end. She’s just an energy giver, she just makes plays, she just does things, she’s a hustle player, and the 18 points that she put up today was gravy on top.”
Krull scored 15 points of her points in the second half, including the final three to put the team at 100 points. She said postgame she wasn’t aware of that fact until after she made it, and felt the shot came more from wanting to continue her strong scoring momentum.
“I just knew that I was open, and it was kind of a heat check moment,” she said. “I missed the one before and I was like ‘No, I still think I’m hot,’ so I was yelling at Callin (Hake) and when I looked at the scoreboard and saw it was 100 I thought, ‘That’s pretty cool.'”
Isabelle Bourne led the team statistically with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Allison Weidner added 19 points and nine boards. Alexis Markowski and Stewart finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively, to round out the team’s double-digit scorers.
Bourne helped the team get off to a hot start. She scored the first basket of the game on a layup, and had 11 points by the end of the first quarter.
“Lot of people talk about some of the other names on our roster, but Issie Bourne is a special, special player,” Williams said. “And the reason why is one of our core values is consistency, and that kid is consistent. She makes it her goal to be the most consistent presence on our team. She’s consistent in mood, she’s consistent in effort, and it’s every day, every drill, every practice.”
Jaz Shelley, an all-conference second team selection last season, had a quieter scoring day, putting up five points on 2-of-7 shooting. She added 10 assists, however, including assisting on Nebraska’s first five second-half makes.
She was just as strong defensively as she was passing the ball, racking up four steals and a block. Those stats were part of a strong day on defense for Nebraska, as Nebraska-Omaha shot 21.2% in the game and turned it over 19 times.
Williams said she wasn’t satisfied with her team’s defensive performance, particularly in putting pressure on the opposing point guard, in its closed-door scrimmage or its exhibition win against Washburn. The efforts of Shelley and Weidner brought improvement in that area, according to the head coach.
Krull had a big performance being one of the first players off the bench, but there’s no guarantee that’ll be her role as the season goes on. Williams said they’re still evaluating rotations and how different sets of players work together, so the lineups are subject to change.
The 10 players Nebraska put on the floor all made an impact in different ways, each playing over 15 minutes and none playing over 30. It’s a rotation that could add three more players as the year goes on as well. Freshman two-sport athlete Maggie Mendelson will join the team fully after the volleyball season concludes. Nailah Dillard has missed the past two seasons due to injury, and didn’t suit up in the exhibition or the regular season opener. Sam Haiby will be out for an extended period of time with her injury that was first thought to be season-ending, but she has a chance to return to the court this season.
With their current lineup, Nebraska will hope to carry momentum into its Friday night matchup against Houston Christian and put together another complete game.
“I think just most pleased that we did not let our foot off the gas,” Williams said. We talk all the time about trying to put together 40 minutes of quality basketball and sometimes you can get to a point where you start to let your foot off the gas and let up and I didn’t think we did that here today.”