A bad fourth quarter cost the Nebraska women’s basketball team in a 67-61 loss against Michigan on Thursday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
To start the fourth quarter, the Huskers had played great defense, and done enough on offense to give themselves a chance to win.
Nebraska led 51-48 with eight minutes left in the game. But then came the stretch that cost the Huskers another close game. Nebraska went about 6½ minutes without scoring, from a layup by Kate Cain with 8:01 left to another layup by Cain at the 1:37 mark.
That scoreless stretch allowed Michigan to take a 58-51 lead, and the Wolverines were able to make their free throws down to the stretch to get the win. Taylor Kissinger kept Nebraska's hopes alive with a pair of long three-pointers with 28 seconds and 21 seconds left to pull the Huskers within 63-59, but Nebraska could get no closer.
Michigan outscored Nebraska 19-12 in the fourth quarter.
So Nebraska (10-13, 5-7 Big Ten) has lost four of its last five games. Nebraska has had a chance to win all four of the games it lost in that stretch, including losing on a three-pointer at the buzzer against Wisconsin. The Huskers are 1-6 in Big Ten play in games decided by two possessions.
Nebraska trailed by 10 points in the second quarter on Thursday, but got back into the game in part thanks to the three-point shooting of Hannah Whitish.
“I’m proud of the fact that they’re fighting and playing and we’re putting ourselves in these positions, but we just got to get over the hump,” Nebraska coach Amy Williams said in a radio interview.
Michigan is one of the five Big Ten teams Nebraska will play twice this season, and each team won once in the season series.
Even though Nebraska went six minutes without scoring in the fourth quarter, the Huskers still led 51-49 with four minutes left in the game.
But Nebraska had costly turnovers at the end of the game, and Michigan took the lead for good with 2:33 left.
Nebraska had five turnovers in the fourth quarter, which Michigan scored five points on, and the Huskers missed 12 field-goal attempts in the final quarter.
Nebraska didn’t execute very well late, Williams said.
“I thought we let their press kind of slow us way down, and once we broke the pressure, we just did not flow aggressively into our offense,” she said. “So then with limited time on the shot clock we were trying to get into offense, and we just weren’t in very much of a rhythm at all.”
Michigan wasn’t great on offense in the fourth quarter, either, but made 15 of 21 free throws in the period.
Freshman forward Naz Hillmon led Michigan with 18 points. Michigan played most of the game without starting point guard Amy Dilk after she injured her knee in the first quarter.
Whitish led Nebraska with 13 points, including three three-pointers. Cain finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Kissinger also scored 12, and was 3-for-7 on threes.
Nicea Eliely added four points, eight rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Sam Haiby had eight points.
Michigan outrebounded Nebraska 41-29. The Wolverines outscored Nebraska on points off turnovers 23-12.
Nebraska’s next game is Sunday against Purdue at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
-- Brent C. Wagner