AXTELL, Neb. — Jaz Shelley scored 28 of her career-high 37 points in the second half, but Minnesota got a three-pointer in the corner with 1.1 seconds left to escape with a 95-92 women's basketball win over Nebraska on Wednesday night at Williams Arena.
The Huskers (14-12, 6-9 Big Ten) suffered their third straight loss, while Minnesota (10-16, 3-12 Big Ten) got its first home victory of 2023 thanks to a game-winning three-pointer from Isabelle Gradwell, who finished with eight points off the bench.
Shelley's performance for Nebraska included 17 in the fourth quarter, including four three-pointers. Her last came with 40 seconds left, which included the fifth foul of the game by Minnesota point guard Amaya Battle. Shelley completed the four-point play to tie the game at 92. Nebraska then got a stop, and Sam Haiby was fouled as the Huskers inbounded the ball from the sideline with 15 seconds left. But Haiby missed both free throws with 12 seconds left to set up Minnesota's decisive play.
The Huskers trailed 67-64 after three quarters, and Gradwell opened the fourth with a bucket to push the lead to five, before Shelley completed a rare five-point play with 8:49 left to tie the score at 69. Nebraska then got four straight free throws from Alexis Markowski, who finished with nine points and 14 rebounds, and Haiby, who finished with nine points, to match its biggest lead of the game at 73-69 with 8:07 left and cap a 9-0 Husker run.
Both teams then scored on nearly every possession the rest of the way. Nebraska outscored Minnesota 61-57 in the highest scoring second half (118 combined points) in school history, but it was not enough to overcome a 38-31 halftime deficit after the Huskers fell behind by as much as 32-20 midway through the second quarter.
Shelley led all scorers with her career-high 37 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including 7-of-13 threes, and 8-of-8 free throws. The 5-9 guard from Moe, Australia added five assists. Isabelle Bourne added a season-high 21 points, including 15 in the first half. Bourne pitched in seven rebounds. Maddie Krull put three Huskers in double figures with 13 points, including nine points as part of a 33-point third quarter for the Big Red.
Nebraska finished 27-of-68 from the floor (.397), including 10-of-24 threes (.417). The Huskers hit 8-of-15 threes in the second half. They also knocked down 28-of-35 free throws (.800) and won the battle of the boards, 43-40.
Mara Braun led Minnesota with 28 points, including 18 in the second half. The freshman went 9-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from long range, while connecting on 7-of-8 free throws. Alanna Micheaux added to the five Gophers in double figures with 16 points, while Katie Borowicz added 15 points off the bench in just 20 minutes before fouling out. Battle added 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists before fouling out, while Angelina Hammond contributed 12 big points off the bench. Minnesota's bench outscored Nebraska's bench 37-3.
The Golden Gophers hit 32-of-63 shots (.508) from the floor on the night, including 8-of-16 threes. They also connected on 23-of-31 free throws, while winning the turnover battle 10-9.
Nebraska had to fight back from a 38-31 halftime deficit, after Minnesota outscored the Huskers 24-16 in the second period. NU led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter after getting eight big points from Bourne. She continued to carry Nebraska in the second period, adding seven points to finish the first half with 15. But the Gophers used a 16-3 surge in a four-minute span to claim a 32-20 lead. The Huskers cut the Minnesota margin back to 36-31 in the closing seconds of the half, before Hammond scored on a putback with two seconds left to send the Golden Gophers to halftime with a seven-point lead.
In addition to 15 first-half points from Bourne, Nebraska got nine points from Shelley. The Huskers hit 11-of-30 shots (.367) from the floor, including 2-of-9 threes (.222), while connecting on 7-of-10 free throws. NU outworked Minnesota 21-20 on the boards, but the Gophers won the turnover battle 5-4.
Micheaux and Braun both put up 10 first-half points to lead Minnesota, while Battle contributed six points, six rebounds and three assists. Borowicz also pitched in seven points off the bench despite committing three first-half fouls. Minnesota hit 16-of-34 shots (.471), including 3-of-8 threes (.375). The Gophers went 3-of-6 at the free throw line in the opening 20 minutes.
The Huskers return home to take on No. 7 Iowa on Saturday. Tip-off at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 1 p.m. with tickets on sale now at Huskers.com for the special Pack PBA and Play4Kay (Pink Game) events. The game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network and can be heard across the Huskers Radio Network stations, the Huskers App and Huskers.com.
Courtesy UNL Sports Information