Huskers Outlast Rutgers in Classic Battle
Credit Source: University of Nebraska Athletics
Lincoln – In a game that has become the norm in the brief history of the Nebraska vs. Rutgers women’s basketball series, the Huskers outlasted the Scarlet Knights, 53-50, in a defensive dogfight at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Sam Haiby scored a team-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists, including six straight points midway through the fourth quarter that turned a 44-43 Nebraska deficit into a 49-44 lead. Fellow Husker captain Isabelle Bourne added her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with three assists to help the Huskers improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten. Rutgers slipped to 5-3 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten.
While Bourne was strong on the offensive end, it was her primary responsibility for most of the game to slow down Rutgers scoring star Arella Guirantes, who entered the game as the Big Ten’s leading scorer at nearly 25 points per game. Just days after Guirantes went off for 34 points against Iowa, Bourne led Nebraska’s team defensive effort in holding Guirantes to just eight points on 3-for-24 shooting.
Nebraska’s defense held Rutgers, which entered the game averaging nearly 86 points per contest, to just 23 points in the first half and just 29 points through the first 26 minutes of the game. The Huskers led 24-23 at the half, before Guirantes hit a field goal to put the Scarlet Knights up 27-24 early in the third. The Big Red then held Rutgers without a field goal for more than four minutes. A three-point play from Haiby, back-to-back three-pointers by Ashley Scoggin and another three-pointer from Whitney Brown capped a 12-2 surge that gave the Huskers the biggest lead of the game for either team at 38-29 with 4:09 left in the third.
Although Nebraska’s lead grew to nine with four minutes left in the third, Rutgers answered with an 11-1 surge to close the quarter and take a 40-39 lead to the fourth period.
Rutgers extended the lead to 44-40 on a Diamond Johnson bucket, before Scoggin drained her third three-pointer of the game to set up the six straight points from Haiby that capped a 9-0 Big Red run that fueled the victory. Scoggin finished the game with 11 points, including three three-pointers and two free throws with 12.3 seconds left that sealed Nebraska’s 53-50 win.
Johnson, a freshman point guard, led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting, while adding six rebounds and two assists. Tekia Mack who scored four points late in the game to help Rutgers pull within 51-50 in the closing minute, added 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Scarlet Knights.
In addition to the big rebounding and defensive game from Bourne, the Huskers got 13 boards from Bella Cravens, who added six points, a block and a steal. Kate Cain added seven rebounds to go along with four points and a pair of blocks, as Nebraska won the team rebounding battle, 47-34.
As a team, Nebraska hit just 35.1 percent (20-57) of its shots from the field, including just 4-of-18 three-pointers, but the Huskers hit 4-of-7 threes to close the game after going 0-for-11 in the first 24 minutes. The Huskers were clutch at the line, hitting 9-of-11 free throws.
The Big Red held Rutgers to just 32.8 percent (21-64) shooting, including just 2-of-16 (.125) from three-point range. The Scarlet Knights went 6-of-8 at the free throw line. Rutgers also won the turnover battle, 19-10.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action this week by traveling to No. 16 Michigan on Thursday, Jan. 7, before squaring off with No. 25 Michigan State on Sunday, Jan. 10.
Women’s Hoops Drops Defensive Battle at Nebraska
Credit Source: Rutgers University Athletics
LINCOLN, Neb. – In a back-and-forth defensive clash with 11 lead changes, Rutgers women’s basketball (5-3, 1-3) was edged, 53-50, on the road by Nebraska (5-3, 3-2) on Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers’ timely 9-0 run near the start of the fourth quarter was just enough to survive the Scarlet Knights’ counterpunch down the stretch. A Mael Gilles basket made it a one-point game at 51-50 with 1:38 to play before Nebraska’s free throws and defense closed out a home victory.
Diamond Johnson netted a game-high 19 points with a career-high six rebounds. Tekia Mack played all 40 minutes for a second-straight game following her return from injury, putting together a stuffed stat line of 13 points, seven boards, two assists, three steals and two blocks.
Rutgers led for 20 of the 40 minutes, but never by more than five points. RU’s last lead came at 44-43 two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Johnson scored the first five points of the game and a 6-0 run shortly after created a five-point cushion for RU midway through the first quarter, but open shots swiftly became rare as the defensive clamps tightened on both ends of the court. The Huskers beat the halftime buzzer with a lay-in for a 24-23 lead while outshooting the Scarlet Knights, 33 to 30 percent in the opening half. The two sides combined to shoot 1-of-17 from beyond the arc in the opening half, with Nebraska going 0-of-10.
The Big Red began to balance their three-point shooting in the third, making three consecutive shots from distance on a 9-0 run to take a 38-29 lead at 4:11 in the third. Rutgers immediately answered with an 11-1 rally over the next 3:26 of game clock with a three by Tekia Mack and four points from Johnson.
Nebraska’s fateful 9-0 spurt spanned two minutes from 8:09 to 6:03 in the fourth quarter. Mack chipped away with four more points, but RU could only manage three buckets over the final five minutes.
The Huskers outrebounded Rutgers, 47-34, and converted 9-of-11 shots from the free throw line. Rutgers only scored 14 points off 19 forced turnovers.
The Scarlet Knights return home to host Purdue in a Big Ten contest on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the RAC, airing live on Big Ten Network.
- Diamond Johnson has scored in double-figures in all eight of her collegiate games and has eclipsed 17 or more in four-straight games.
- Rutgers’ single-season scoring average record is 86.2 points per game from the 1978-79 season. Rutgers is now at 81.3 for the season.
- Rutgers’ single-season record for free throw percentage is .734 from the 1980-81 season. RU made 6-of-8 on Sunday and now stands at .790 for the year.
- Leading the country in steals at 16.1 per game before Sunday, RU maintained that national lead with 11 against Nebraska.
- RU has had double-digit steals in seven of eight games this season.
- Arella Guirantes has 1,472 career points, the 14th most of any player in history to wear the Scarlet Knights uniform. She has scored 1,184 of those at Rutgers.
- Freshman Chyna Cornwell scored her first collegiate points in the contest.
- Rutgers is now 5-4 in the all-time series and 4-4 as regular season Big Ten opponents. Nebraska is 3-1 when the series is played at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
- C. Vivian Stringer rolled out the Starting 5 of Diamond Johnson, Arella Guirantes, Mael Gilles, Tekia Mack and Tyia Singleton for the first time this season.