Balanced Big Red Blows By Bulldogs
Lincoln - True freshman Alexis Markowski led five Huskers in double figures by recording her second straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to power unbeaten Nebraska to an 89-68 women's basketball win over Drake on Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 11-0 with its seventh victory by 20 or more points to start the season. The Huskers also snapped Drake's six-game winning streak, as the Bulldogs slipped to 7-3 on the season.
Markowski, who was the 2021 Nebraska High School Player of the Year at Lincoln Pius X, got her 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 effort at the free throw line. The 6-3 forward/center also pulled down five rebounds at each end of the court in just over 16 minutes of action. She pitched in a steal in the best all-around effort of her young career.
Ashley Scoggin led Nebraska with a game-high 16 points, including four three-pointers, while Sam Haiby pitched in 15 points of her own to go with four three rebounds, a team-high four assists and one steal. Haiby knocked down a trio of three-pointers on the day.
True freshman Allison Weidner from Humphrey, Neb., played an outstanding game of her own with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in just over 18 minutes of work, while second-year forward Annika Stewart (Minneapolis, Minn.) rounded out the five Huskers in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and an assist in 12 minutes off the bench. The 6-3 Stewart also buried a pair of threes, as Nebraska connected on 12-of-29 three-pointers (.414) on the day against the Bulldogs.
Drake, which entered the game among the top scoring teams in the nation, averaging more than 80 points per game, jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead with back-to-back three-pointers from Megan Meyer and Maggie Bair, before Haiby settled in and found early answers for the Huskers. Meyer led the Bulldogs with a game-high 16 points while Bair added 14 points for Drake on the day.
Haiby scored eight points in an important 11-0 Husker run midway through the first quarter that allowed Nebraska to take a 28-22 lead to the second period. But Drake started fast again, scoring seven straight points to open the period to regain a brief 29-28 lead, before Haiby connected on her third three-pointer of the first half to put NU back up 31-29. Meyer tied the score for Drake with a pair of free throws with 6:53 left in the half, before Markowski took over with seven straight points for the Big Red to rebuild a 38-33 lead.
Nebraska took a 45-39 lead to the locker room at halftime. The Bulldogs kept NU within striking distance at 50-44 until the young Nebraskans Weidner and Markowski combined on a 7-0 run to push the Husker lead to 57-44 with 5:14 left in the third period.
The Big Red took a 64-54 lead into the fourth, and Drake briefly trimmed the margin to six points before the Huskers closed the door for good on the Bulldogs. Scoggin got a pair of free throws before Markowski scored in the paint off an assist from Jaz Shelley to put NU back up 10. Shelley, who finished with seven points, then buried a three to put NU up 71-60. Scoggin continued the Big Red surge by burying back-to-back three-pointers, before Isabelle Bourne and Annika Stewart scored on back-to-back baskets in to the paint to cap a decisive 17-2 Nebraska eruption in just over four minutes to put the Huskers in front 81-60 with 3:48 left. NU outscored Drake 25-14 in the fourth, while knocking down 5-of-10 threes in the final period.
In a strong all-around game, Nebraska hit 44.9 percent (31-69) of its shots from the field and 15-of-19 free throws (.789). NU also won the rebounding battle against the Bulldogs, 36-34. The most significant advantage for Nebraska came on the defensive end, where the Huskers forced 27 turnovers by Drake and converted those mistakes into 44 points. The Husker bench also outscored Drake's deep and productive reserves, 42-15 on the day.
Drake still hit 49.1 percent (27-55) of its shots, including 6-of-14 three-pointers, but the Bulldogs entered the contest averaging nearly 10 made threes per game.
Nebraska returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena to play Wyoming on Wednesday, Dec. 22, to close non-conference play and its three-game home stand. Tip-off between the Huskers and the 2021 Mountain West Conference Champion Cowgirls is set for noon with tickets on sale now at Huskers.com.