Well, that’s one way to extend a modest halftime lead.
The Nebraska women’s basketball team went on a 10-0 run in the first 70 seconds of the third quarter to quickly stretch a three-point halftime lead to 13.
The Huskers dominated in the second half for an 80-60 win against the University of Missouri-Kansas City on Tuesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers outscored the Kangaroos 42-25 in the second half.
The Huskers got help from all over the roster. All 10 available players scored and had at least two rebounds, and five made a three-pointer.
Freshman guard Taylor Kissinger scored a game-high 18 points. She made four of the Huskers’ 12 three-pointers. Maddie Simon added 11 points and eight rebounds.
In that 70-second scoring burst to start the third quarter, Kissinger made a three-pointer to start the run. Then Simon scored seven straight points, with a jumper, a layup off a steal by Jasmine Cincore and a three-pointer.
“We talked a lot in the locker room about coming out strong,” Simon said. “We kind of had a rough first half. We kind of let them get open shots, and they hit too many on us, so we really wanted to come out strong in that second half and get out to a lead, so 10 points in (70) seconds was a good way to do that.”
Later in the third quarter, the Huskers did their scoring on three-pointers. Emily Wood made two in a row, and Hannah Whitish made one. The Huskers were 6-of-10 on three-pointers in the third quarter.
Simon, a junior from Lincoln, made 5 of 6 field goals, including the three-pointer, and also had three assists. This season, Simon has shifted from guard to a forward position, where she could be of more help to the Huskers.
“I love it,” said Simon of her new role. “I just have to give all of the credit to my teammates. I run the floor, and it’s pretty easy when I have teammates that can pass and find me. It’s pretty simple.”
Sophomore forward Grace Mitchell added a career-high 10 points off the bench, Wood scored nine on three three-pointers, center Kate Cain scored eight points in her first college start. Cincore and Whitish each added eight points. Bria Stallworth, who scored 21 points in the first game, had four points.
And all that scoring came even though the Huskers only attempted nine free throws, and made four.
“I really think that for us we are going to need a lot of different weapons, and to have different people stepping up on different nights and teams to have to prepare for multiple people that are capable of going off,” Williams said. “I think that’s going to be important for our team to have some balance like that.”
Williams said it was a good team win, with 21 assists on 32 made field goals. Whitish tied a career-high with nine assists. The sophomore guard has a better understanding of where the Huskers’ scoring can come from, Williams said.
“It’s not just the nine assists, it’s the zero turnovers and the fact that she’s being able to have careful protection of the basketball while she’s making plays for others,” Williams said. “That’s something that’s going to be important for Hannah. She’s learning that she can affect our game in a lot of ways, and it doesn’t have to be 27 points, it can be nine assists and zero turnovers.”
Aries Washington led UMKC (0-2) with 16 points, and Millard West grad Samantha Waldron added 14 points with four threes. Paige Husa, a senior center from Fairbury, scored two points and had three rebounds.
Nebraska has won its first two games and will try to make it three on Thursday against Arkansas.
Simon says the Huskers’ confidence keeps rising as they try to quickly move past last year’s disappointing season.
“Everyone out there has had more time to play together and get experience with the system, and I think that’s giving everyone a big jump of confidence,” Simon said. “Those are two big things. Everyone is counting us out, so we’re just coming out and playing as hard as we can every game, and I think that’s paying off so far.”