Lincoln – Kate Cain could not be contained with a triple-double performance of 22 points, 14 rebounds and a school-record 11 blocks to propel Nebraska to an 86-69 women’s basketball win over Florida Atlantic on Tuesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers, who notched their fifth straight win, improved to 9-3 overall while Florida Atlantic slipped to 4-5 on the season.
Cain’s 11 blocks broke former Husker and Olympic medalist Danielle Page’s school record of nine blocks against Baylor on Feb. 3, 2007. Cain’s 11 blocks combined with one from Nicea Eliely and one from Maddie Simon gave the Huskers a school-record 13 blocks as a team, breaking the previous record of 10 set Dec. 30, 2009. Both Cain’s individual record and the Huskers’ team record were Pinnacle Bank Arena records.
Cain’s triple-double was just the third in school history, and the first time that a Husker has earned a triple-double in points, rebounds and blocks, instead of points, rebounds and assists. Cain, who is a three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, scored a career-high 22 points, while tying a career-high with 14 rebounds. She also set a career high with three assists, while going 10-of-16 from the field.
With Cain at the back of the Husker defense, Nebraska held the Owls to just 3-of-16 shooting in the fourth quarter, as the Big Red outscored FAU 20-5 in the final5:55 of the game. Cain, who helped the Huskers take a 37-31 lead at the half, had five blocks in the first half to hold the Owls to just 9-of-34 shooting in the first half.
But she was far from the only Husker contributing at both ends, as six players produced double figures on the night as Nebraska scored 80 or more points for the third straight game and the fifth time overall this season.
Hannah Whitish pumped in 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while adding a game-high eight assists and contributing five rebounds. Maddie Simon scored in double figures for the third straight game with 13 points, while senior Emily Wood pitched in 11 points off the bench including a huge four-point play in the fourth quarter that gave Nebraska the lead for good at 61-57 with 8:39 left.
Nicea Eliely just missed a double-double with 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while Jasmine Cincore pitched in 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Huskers who led 52-51 at the end of three quarters, trailed 55-52 with 9:42 left in the game after a four-point play by FAU’s top player Sasha Cedeno. The three by Cedeno drew the fourth foul on Eliely.
Wood answered with her second three-pointer of the game to tie the score at 55, before Simon scored to give Nebraska the lead back at 57-55 with 9:08 left and force an FAU timeout. Simon then committed her fourth foul and Melinda Myers hit two free throws to tie the game back up at 57, before Wood’s four-point play gave the Big Red the lead for good.
The Owls kept it close with Raven Doyle’s three at the 5:56 mark to cut the margin to 66-64. From that point, Nebraska blitzed FAU 20-5 down the stretch. In the fourth quarter, Nebraska hit 12-of-14 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 three-pointers.
For the game, Nebraska shot a season-best 50.8 percent from the field (32-63), including 38.5 percent (10-26) from three-point range. The Huskers also hit a season-best 70.6 percent (12-17) from the free throw line. NU outrebounded FAU, 46-38, but lost the turnover battle, 15-11.
The Huskers held FAU to 30 percent (21-70) shooting for the game, including 38.9 percent (7-18) from three-point range. The Owls hit 20-of-26 free throws.
Nebraska jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first 4:17 of the first quarter, but Florida Atlantic responded with a 13-2 surge to close the quarter and take a 15-13 lead to the second period.
The Owls pushed their margin to 17-13 after a pair of free throws just 15 seconds into the second quarter, but after a three-pointer by Wood stopped the surge by FAU and a free throw by Simon tied the score with 8:11 left in the half, Whitish scored seven straight Husker points around a three-pointer by FAU’s Tyanna Robinson to give Nebraska a 24-20 lead. Whitish added a three-pointer late in the second quarter to help NU take a 37-31 lead to halftime.
Whitish finished the half with a team-high 13 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists, while Eliely added eight points and seven rebounds in the half. Cain had a big half at both ends with six points, seven boards, five blocked shots and two assists.
The Huskers held FAU to just 26.5 percent (9-34) shooting, but the Owls did cash in on 5-of-9 (.556) three-pointers and 8-of-12 free throws. Cedeno led the Owls with 14 points and four boards off the bench in the first half.
Nebraska hit 42.4 percent (14-33) of its first-half shots, including 5-of-13 threes (.385), while knocking down 4-of-7 free throws. The Huskers outrebounded FAU 26-21 in the first half, but lost the first-half turnover battle, 6-5.
Nebraska completes non-conference play on Friday afternoon when the Huskers take on Washington State. Tip-off with the Cougars is set for 1 p.m.