Cold shooting Huskers dumped by Michigan State
East Lansing, Mich. - Cold-shooting Nebraska had its five-game winning streak snapped as Michigan State ran to a 70-57 women's basketball win at the Breslin Center on Thursday night.
No. 16 Nebraska slipped to 11-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten, while Michigan State improved to 10-5 overall and 2-0 in the conference by notching its fourth consecutive victory.
The Spartans used a 19-3 surge over the final two minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half to build a 21-point lead, and Nebraska was unable to recover. MSU's lead grew as large as 25 points, before eight straight points from Emily Cady in a 1:52 span pulled the Huskers back to 64-48 with 6:07 left.
Nebraska got the margin to 13 points at 67-54 with 1:51 left, but could get no closer.
Cady, a 6-2 junior forward from Seward, Neb., notched her fifth double-double of the season and 13th of her career with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Hooper added a game-high 21 points and eight boards for the Huskers. Sophomore guard Rachel Theriot added 11 points and eight assists for the Big Red.
The rest of the Huskers combined to score just nine points in 93 total minutes, as Nebraska hit just 20-of-65 shots (.308) from the field, including 6-of-17 (.353) three-pointers. NU also went 11-of-14 from the free throw line (.786).
Nebraska battled from start to finish and outrebounded MSU, 46-43 on the night. MSU won the turnover battle 15-12, and the Spartans finished 25-of-63 from the field (.397), including 8-of-19 (.421) from three-point range. MSU also became the first team this season to outscore Nebraska at the free throw line, going 12-of-18.
Aerial Powers led the Spartans with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Annalise Pickrel added a double-double of her own with 17 points and 10 boards. Becca Mills and Tori Jankoska each added 10 points for the Spartans in the win.
Michigan State took control early. The Spartans never trailed, and after Mills scored her second basket of the half to make it 6-4, MSU did not relinquish the lead. The bucket sparked a 9-0 run by the Spartans, who pushed the lead to double-digits the first time at 20-9 on a Kiona Johnson layup with 11:29 left in the period.
Nebraska rallied to cut the MSU lead to five points on two occasions, the last on a Hooper three-pointer with 2:41 left made it 29-24. But Hooper picked up her second foul with two minutes left, as Pickrel converted a three-point play. That play ignited an 8-0 Spartan surge to end the half, which included a buzzer-beater putback by Powers.
The Huskers hit just 10-of-35 shots (.286) in the first half, including 2-of-7 threes and 2-of-2 free throws. NU outrebounded Michigan State, 24-22, but lost the first-half turnover battle, 8-6.
Michigan State outscored Nebraska 22-12 in the paint in the first half, including 12-3 on second-chance points. The Huskers lost that battle in the opening period, despite getting eight offensive rebounds compared to six by MSU. The Spartans hit 15-of-34 field goals (.441) and 3-of-8 three-pointers. MSU was also 4-of-6 at the line.
Hooper led all scorers with 11 first-half points, while Cady added six points and nine rebounds for the Big Red. Mills led MSU with eight points, while the Spartans got seven points each from Pickrel and Jankoska.
Nebraska continues its two-game Big Ten road swing by traveling to Illinois on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off between the Huskers and Fighting Illini at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill., is set for 1 p.m.
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