Lincoln-(NU Athletics Nov 6)–Hannah Whitish scored 12 points on four three-pointers to lead four Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska battled to a 68-46 women’s basketball win over Alabama A&M on Wednesday afternoon in the regular-season opener at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Junior Kate Cain added 10 points, seven rebounds and a game-high eight blocked shots, while sophomore Ashtyn Veerbeek pitched in 10 points and six boards while making her first career start. Fellow sophomore Leigha Brown contributed 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Big Red, which improved to 43-3 all-time in home season openers.
Nebraska got off to a strong start both offensively and defensively. The Huskers jumped to an 11-2 lead after the opening tip, including 3-for-3 three-point shooting from Veerbeek and Whitish (2-for-2), to close the first quarter with a 20-9 lead.
The Huskers opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run with four straight points from Cain, a three-point play from Brown and the first two points of Isabelle Bourne’s career to extend the margin to 20 points at 29-9. Nebraska closed the half with a 35-14 lead.
The third quarter started all Nebraska again, as the Huskers pushed the edge to 46-14 with an 11-0 run in the first 3:35 of the second half. Cain and Veerbeekcombined for seven points during the spurt. But Alabama A&M, coached by former Husker Margaret Richards, rallied for an 8-0 run of its own and closed the third quarter trailing 49-31.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to 55-38, before Whitish buried back-to-back threes midway through the fourth quarter to seal the Husker win.
Sophomore Sam Haiby, who joined Veerbeek in making her first career start, just missed double figures with eight points. Haiby, Whitish and Nicea Eliely all led the Huskers with three assists.
Junior Taylor Kissinger had a team-high eight boards, while pitching in four points. Senior Kristian Hudson (Birmingham, Ala.) added four points and three boards, while sophomore Kayla Mershon contributed four points and five rebounds, as Nebraska out-boarded the Bulldogs, 50-45.
Nebraska shot 42.6 percent (23-54) from the floor, 31.3 percent (5-16) from downtown and 70.8 percent (17-24) from the free throw line. Alabama A&M was held to 25.3 percent (20-79) from the field, 12.5 percent (2-16) from long range and 50.0 percent (4-8) from the line.
Lincoln Northeast High School grad Nigeria Jones led the Bulldogs with 16 points, including 14 in the second half. Fellow guard Deshawna Harper added 15 points including a pair of threes. Omaha North grad Dariauna Lewis contributed eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Nebraska will return to action on Sunday, Nov. 10 with a non-conference matchup against the Tigers in Columbia, Mo. Tip-off at Mizzou Arena is set for 2 p.m. with live video available from SECN+.
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