Huskers win top 25 showdown
Lincoln - No. 22 Nebraska used a 22-0 first-half run to storm past No. 24 Michigan State for a 76-56 women's basketball victory at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.
Playing in front of 7,915 frenzied Husker fans and a Big Ten Network national television audience, Nebraska reeled off its fourth consecutive victory to improve to 17-5 overall and 7-3 in the Big Ten.
The Huskers earned a split in their season series with the Spartans, while dropping MSU to 16-8 overall and 8-3 in the conference. NU ended Michigan State's four-game winning streak and handed the Spartans their first Big Ten road loss of the season.
Michigan State jumped to a quick 14-6 lead in the first 5:32 by hitting 6-of-8 shots from the floor. The Huskers then shut out the Spartans for the next 9:39 and limited MSU to 3-for-21 shooting the rest of the half.
Nebraska got a spark off the bench from Brandi Jeffery and tremendous passing by Rachel Theriot and Emily Cady to dissect the Spartan defense over the next nine minutes. During one of Nebraska's largest runs of the season, Cady erupted for nine points and three assists. Cady finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the game, while committing just one turnover.
Theriot didn't score during the surge, but she distributed five assists, including four to Cady. Theriot just missed her third double-double in the last four games, finishing with nine points and a career-high 12 assists.
Jordan Hooper added four points during the stretch while leading the Huskers with a game-high 18 points. The 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., added six rebounds to move past Kelsey Griffin into the No. 2 spot on the Nebraska career rebounding list with 1,023. She also increased her career scoring total to 2,111. She added an assist, a block and a steal for the Big Red.
Jeffery started Nebraska's 22-0 run with her second straight layup to cut MSU's lead to 14-8. She ended the Husker run on a jumper with 5:14 left in the half that gave NU a 28-14 lead. Jeffery produced her second double-digit scoring game in Big Ten play this season with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. She also had 10 at Illinois.
Michigan State ended a 9:39 drought with a Branndais Agee jumper with 4:49 left to trim NU's margin to 28-16. But Theriot answered with a three-pointer 20 seconds later. After another Agee jumper, Hailie Sample scored on a putback to put NU back up by 15 at 33-18 with 2:54 left. Sample finished with five points and eight rebounds. Michigan State got no closer.
Nebraska took a 40-20 lead to the locker room at halftime, then quickly pushed the lead to 27 points at 51-24 after a three-pointer by Hooper with 14:24 left. After MSU chipped the lead to 17 points at 54-37 with 10:50 left, Tear'a Laudermill answered with a three-pointer and four straight free throws to keep NU's lead at 61-41.
Laudermill finished with 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers for the Big Red, to continue her hot shooting.
The Huskers rebulit the lead to 70-43 with 4:22 left, before taking all five starters out with more than three minutes left. Michigan native Allie Havers helped the Huskers with four points and three rebounds on the day, while sophomore guard Sadie Murren scored NU's final two points.
Nebraska shot 46.8 percent (29-62) from the field, but just 5-of-18 (.278) from three-point range. The Huskers also hit 13-of-16 free throws. NU outrebounded MSU, 38-31, and won the turnover battle, 16-11.
Michigan State finished 22-of-56 (.393) from the floor, including 4-of-17 from three-point range. The Spartans also hit 8-of-10 free throws.
The Huskers return to Big Ten road action on Thursday, when they travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Wolverines is set for 6 p.m. (CT)
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