The Minnesota women’s basketball team ended the game on an 11-1 run over the final three minutes to beat Nebraska 73-63 on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
Minnesota, which isn’t projected to make the NCAA Tournament, won both games against the Huskers this season.
For Nebraska, which drops to 11-10 overall and 9-9 in the league, it was a second disappointing loss against the Gophers. The first came when Minnesota beat Nebraska 76-71 on Jan. 19. Entering that game, Nebraska had just beaten No. 15 Ohio State, while the Gophers were just 2-7 at the time.
And Wednesday Minnesota (8-11, 7-10 Big Ten) won despite not having one of its best players, Jasmine Powell, due to injury.
Minnesota led for all but 1:38 of the game.
But Nebraska was still in position for a win when the game was tied at 62-62 with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter. Then the Gophers got the go-ahead basket on a putback by Kayla Mershon, who played for Nebraska last season, and never trailed. Nebraska didn’t make another field goal the rest of the game.
Minnesota outscored Nebraska 22-12 in the fourth quarter.
Gadiva Hubbard and Klarke Sconiers led Minnesota with 14 points apiece. Mershon scored eight.
For Nebraska, some of its best and most aggressive players were its three players from the state of Minnesota. Sam Haiby, from Moorhead, scored 22 points, and kept driving and scoring in the second half to try and rally the Huskers.
And Nebraska’s two freshmen from Minneapolis each made big shots. Annika Stewart scored 13 points and was 3-for-4 on threes. Kendall Coley had a season-high six points, making both threes she attempted.
Nebraska shot well at times, shooting 9-for-19 on three-point attempts and 12-of-14 on free throws in the game.
But the Gophers outscored the Huskers 12-0 on second-chance points and 18-6 on points off turnovers. And the Huskers also had a stretch of about four minutes without scoring in the first quarter.
“I’m disappointed,” said Nebraska coach Amy Williams on the Husker Sports Network. “We did not do some of the things that we need to be great at in order to come away with wins. The one that really sticks out like a sore thumb for me is points in the paint, obviously, and second-chance points. We knew rebounding was going to be very critical in this ballgame and we gave up 11 offensive rebounds.”
The Gophers got 38 points combined from their forwards and center, while Nebraska got just 11 combined points from its main inside players, Kate Cain and Isabelle Bourne.
“That inside-outside attack that we really need to have the balance scoring that we’re looking for just wasn’t there,” Williams said.
The Gophers led by seven points in the second quarter, before Nebraska cut its deficit to 31-30 at halftime.
Nebraska’s final home game is Saturday against Michigan State.
— Brent C. Wagner