Photo by Pat Radigan
Story by Pat Radigan
“Road warriors” hand Rutgers first home loss of season
There’s winning a game on the road, and then there’s holding the No. 25 team in the nation scoreless over the final 5:47 to hand them their first home loss of the season.
Nebraska accomplished the latter on Sunday night against Rutgers, and won its eighth-straight on the road with a dominant effort down the stretch to seal back-to-back upsets in Big Ten play. Freshman Kate Cain controlled the paint, while the Huskers ability to rebound and keep the Scarlet Knights out of rhythm allowed NU to survive a choppy offensive effort that included 20 turnovers.
Cain’s 14 points was one shy of outscoring Rutgers starting lineup, she posted a game-high eight rebounds and added three blocked shots and a steal on defense to guide a gritty Nebraska effort. On the defensive end, Cain’s presence led to a 3-for-14 night for the Scarlet Knights’ starting forwards.
Jasmine Cincore scored 11 points to join Cain in double figures, with Hannah Whitish knocking down a trio of 3-pointers to provide just enough offense to allow the “road warriors” to keep NU’s streak alive away from home.
Rutgers hit just three shots in both the first and fourth quarter, and scored seven points in each frame. After Rutgers scored six early points, Nebraska took control in the opening quarter on a 7-0 run. The struggles for the Scarlet Knights allowed NU to lead for more than 35 minutes, and took any suspense out of the upset.
Nebraska entered the fourth quarter ahead 42-35, but saw the lead trimmed to three on a Rutgers 3-pointer with 5:48 to play. That would be the final basket for the Scarlet Knights, though, as Nebraska’s defense and rebounding kept any hope of a comeback from gaining momentum.
The Scarlet Knights came into the game as the best defense in the Big Ten. It showed in Nebraska’s 20 turnovers, yet the Huskers used a balance effort to generate a surprisingly efficient team effort.
Nicea Eliely matched Whitish with 9 points, and hit all four of her shot attempts from the floor. Maddie Simon added 7 points, and made three of her five shots from inside the arc. Nebraska did not score a fast break point, and got just two points off of the bench. It still didn’t keep the Huskers from adding another win to its postseason resume after dropping No. 20 Iowa last Thursday.
After the back-to-back matchups with ranked teams, Nebraska will host a Purdue team next week that is receiving votes in both polls. Purdue also beat both Iowa and Rutgers in the last two weeks, and will give NU a chance to add another quality win to it’s string of recent success on Wednesday.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. in a game that will be available on BTN Plus.