Husker women rally too late in fourth quarter and lose to Purdue in Big Ten tournament

INDIANAPOLIS — In its 30th and final basketball game of the season, the Nebraska women’s basketball team was frustratingly on brand.

The 75-71 Big Ten Tournament loss to Purdue featured many staples of the Huskers’ inconsistent season. A stretch of play so poor on both ends that the Boilermakers went on a 15-0 run and forced coach Amy Williams to call timeout. A major deficit in rebounding. A furious fourth quarter run that came up just short and a little late.

Nebraska, 14-16 overall, lost its ninth game this season by six points or fewer.

Led by sophomore forward Taylor Kissinger – who hit five 3-pointers and scored 15 points - four Huskers finished in double figures. Purdue was led by Dominique Oden, who had 20 points and six rebounds, while Ae’Rianna Harris had 13 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Purdue outrebounded NU 44-36.

Nebraska nearly erased a 13-point fourth quarter deficit, as junior guard Hannah Whitish hit a 3-pointer to draw NU within 69-68 with two minutes. That capped a 11-1 run.

But Purdue (19-14 overall) scored on its next possession – thanks to one of 19 offensive rebounds – and Nebraska couldn’t answer, as freshman Kayla Mershon wasn’t able to score on Harris, the two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Harris then added a jumper in the lane to push Purdue’s lead to 73-68 and put the game out of reach.

The Huskers squandered an early 13-9 lead as Purdue went on a 15-0 run over the end of the first and start of the second quarters. The Boilermakers hit four 3-pointers over the stretch – the last of them prompted a frustrated Williams to call timeout – while Nebraska missed seven of eight shots. Several misses were wild, flailing attempts; one, a 3-pointer by Taylor Kissinger at the first quarter horn, remained lodged between the basket and the backboard.

Purdue hit 6 of its 9 3-point attempts in the first half and outrebounded Nebraska 23-15. Brown’s 3-pointer just before halftime cut into PU’s largest lead as NU trailed 40-30 at halftime.

The Boilermakers carried 60-47 lead into the fourth quarter before NU made a move.

Purdue (19-14).................18 22 20 15—75

Nebraska (14-16).............13 17 17 24—71

PU: McLaughlin 4-16 2-2 13, Oden 9-15 1-2 20, Traylor 5-7 2-2 12. Farquhar 3-11 0-0 6, Harris 4-8 5-9 13, Whilby 4-7 0-0 11, Gony 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 29-65 10-15 75.

NU: Whitish 3-6 0-0 9, Cain 5-7 0-0 10, Brown 3-8 4-6 11, Mershon 2-6 1-2 5, Eliely 1-5 4-4 6, Veerbeek 0-5 0-0 0, Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0, Simon 1-2 1-4 3, Kissinger 5-11 0-0 15, Haiby 5-13 0-0 12. Totals: 25-65 10-14 71.

3-point field goals: PU 7-17 (McLaughlin 3-9, Oden 1-3, Traylor 0-2, Whilby 3-3), NU 11-25 (Whitish 3-6, Brown 1-3, Mershon 0-1, Veerbeek 0-1, Simon 0-1, Kissinger 5-10, Haiby 2-3).

Rebounds: PU 44 (Farquhar 15), NU 36 (Cain 7). Assists: PU 18 (Traylor 5), NU 15 (Whitish 4).

>> Get the full story later tonight on or in tomorrow's World-Herald

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