LINCOLN — The February drought is over for the Nebraska women’s basketball team.
The Huskers’ 75-58 win over Penn State broke a four-game losing streak and gave NU its first win of the month. Nebraska had to overcome another sluggish start — against the Big Ten’s worst team — to do it.
But NU finished the first half on a 8-0 run to grab a one-point halftime lead and dominated the second half, especially on defense, to improve to 16-9 overall and 6-8 in the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers got balanced scoring from sophomores Leigha Brown (20 points) and Ashtyn Veerbeek (12) and freshman Isabelle Bourne, who scored nine of her 11 points in the second half. Nebraska also had 12 team blocks, with junior center Kate Cain tallying six.
Penn State (7-18 and 1-13) lost its tenth straight game as guard Kamaria McDaniel, one of the league’s top scorers, hit just 3 of 15 shots and had four turnovers. Makenna Marisa led the Nittany Lions with 15 points.
The Big Ten’s basement team outplayed the Huskers in the opening quarter, even prompting a timeout from coach Amy Williams after a 7-0 PSU run. The Nittany Lions hit four 3-pointers — all wide-open, uncontested looks — and routinely gummed up Nebraska’s half-court, forcing bad shots late in the shot clock. PSU led 20-16 after ten minutes and had a 31-24 advantage with 2:49 left in the first half.
That’s when NU briefly awoke from its slumber to close the half on a 8-0 run, with six of the points coming from the free throw line. Nebraska forced six straight empty possessions to end the half.
The Huskers wrested control in the second half, with Cain scoring the first two baskets of the quarter. After Penn State’s Makenna Marisa hit a 3-pointer to cut NU’s lead to 38-36 with 7:25 left, Nebraska went on a 16-5 run over the next four minutes. Six different Huskers — including true freshman Makenzie Helms — scored during the stretch to give NU a 54-41 lead. PSU never got within 12 points after that.
» Get the full story later tonight on Omaha.com or in tomorrow's World-Herald.
Meet the 2019-20 Nebraska women's basketball team