Photo by Pat Radigan
Story by Pat Radigan
Nebraska explodes in the first half to run away with season sweep
Iowa came into Sunday’s matchup with Nebraska looking for revenge after the Huskers won round one in Lincoln.
Instead, the 25th-ranked Hawkeyes hopes of getting even seemed hardly possible with Iowa down 30 at the break, as Nebraska ran away with a 92-74 win in Iowa City.
Nebraska (16-6, 7-2) flipped the switch late in the first quarter, and started a streak of 21 straight points to turn an Iowa lead into a 32-12 Husker advantage. The lead grew to 30 at half, then all the way up to a 36-point edge with 32 seconds left in the third when Jasmine Cincore scored the last of her 13 points.
Iowa got the final margin down below 20 by posting 31 points in the fourth quarter, five more than the Hawkeyes managed the entire first half.
Cincore did not lead Nebraska in scoring, but was a key component in NU’s offensive machine with her 6 of 7 effort from the field on the way to the 13 points, plus 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Maddie Simon led the Huskers with 19 points, including going 9-for-10 from the free throw line, while Hannah Whitish chipped in 16 points and 6 assists.
Janay Morton made it four Huskers in double figures, finishing with 13 points, and hit three 3-pointers in her 14 minutes on the court. Iowa hit just one all game.
The game started at a slow pace, and saw Iowa go up 11-7 early in the first quarter. Nebraska fought back to even the game at 11, then briefly gave Iowa the lead back after a Megan Gustafson free throw. It would be the last time Iowa led.
Morton hit her first ‘3’ to put Nebraska up 14-12 with two minutes left in the first quarter, then knocked down two more, including a buzzer beater that banked in from well behind the line. The 11-0 run to end the first quarter put the Huskers ahead by 10. Nebraska scored the next 10 points before Iowa answered to open the second quarter, and went on to lead 56-26 after 20 minutes of play.
Nebraska had nine different players score in the first half, and played 12. Iowa had just three players come in off the bench, and scored just 2 points combined in 18 minutes between the trio. The Huskers’ bench combined for 39 minutes and scored 17 points.
That ‘team-first’ mindset kept Nebraska in control in the third quarter. Cincore hit two shots, Simon went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and the other three starters all made a basket, including a ‘3’ for Whitish. Taylor Kissinger came off the bench to add a basket and a 3-pointer to lead NU with 5 points in the quarter.
Seven different Huskers scored in the quarter, and NU took a 77-43 lead into the fourth.
The win runs Nebraska’s streak to four-straight wins overall and nine in a row on the road. At 7-2, the Huskers are tied for second in the Big Ten with a Michigan team NU nearly beat earlier this month. Next for Nebraska is an Illinois team that is winless in conference play, before hosting league-leading Maryland on Sunday in back-to-back home games.