Now it’s a 12-game improvement for the Nebraska women’s basketball team with at least a few more weeks to do even more.
The Huskers beat Michigan State 79-69 on Wednesday in East Lansing, Michigan. That gives the Huskers 19 wins after having seven all of last season.
Nebraska (19-7, 10-3 Big Ten) still has three more regular-season games, and at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament.
The win keeps the Huskers a perfect 9-0 in road games, tied for second place in the Big Ten Conference standings and gives the Huskers another good win for its NCAA Tournament résumé. Michigan State was ahead of the Huskers in the RPI, and like Nebraska was listed on the NCAA Tournament bubble this week in projections by ESPN. Nebraska has won seven of its last eight games.
While Michigan State (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten) has had some struggles, this was expected to be a tough game for the Huskers, who had won only once in East Lansing since joining the Big Ten. Michigan State had just got an upset win against Michigan, and is the only Big Ten team to beat Maryland this season.
But the Huskers just keep winning. Sophomore guard Nicea Eliely credits that to how focused and committed the Huskers are in their preparation for each game.
“I think we know that we can do something big, something huge this year, and we focus in on the scout, and make sure we know what we’re doing,” said Eliely in a radio interview.
On Wednesday, the Huskers took the lead and then took control with an 18-6 run at the end of the third quarter. The game was tied at 44 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. But Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant got a technical foul, Hannah Whitish made two free throws and the Huskers got rolling, including three-pointers from Taylor Kissinger and Eliely.
The Huskers outscored Michigan State 24-10 in the third quarter, and never trailed again. Michigan State had led by five points near the end of the second quarter.
Nebraska made 12 three-pointers, tying a season-high. Nebraska shot 57.1 percent (12-of-21) on three-pointers, outscoring Michigan State by 21 points from beyond the arc.
Whitish and Eliely led a balanced attack with 17 points apiece. Whitish was 5-of-7 on three-pointers. Eliely had a season-high point total and was 3-for-3 on three-pointers.
Kissinger added 11 points, and Janay Morton scored eight. Kate Cain scored seven points, had 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Nebraska outrebounded Michigan State 40-25, which made Nebraska coach Amy Williams feel great.
“After the game as we were shaking hands and the girls were kind of huddling up out here on the court, I heard Hannah tell her team that we outrebounded them by 15 rebounds, and they all just kind of started to celebrate,” Williams said in a radio interview.
Center Jenna Allen led Michigan State with 19 points.
Nebraska has a quick turnaround with another road game Saturday morning at Indiana. The Hoosiers (14-12, 7-6) are below the Huskers in the standings, but are on a six-game winning streak.
— Brent C. Wagner