Lincoln – The Nebraska women’s basketball team built a 17-point third-quarter lead before holding on for a 73-71 victory over Southwest Baptist in exhibition play at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore forward Jessica Shepard led the Huskers with 30 points and 13 rebounds, while senior forward Allie Havers pitched in 14 points and six rebounds. The big games inside for their two returning post players helped the Huskers earn their 31st consecutive exhibition victory, but it did not come without last-second drama.
After pushing to a 48-31 lead with 6:40 left in the third quarter, Nebraska saw Southwest Baptist finish the quarter on a 14-2 surge to cut NU’s margin to 50-45 heading to the fourth quarter. Nebraska answered the SBU rally early in the fourth by pushing the lead back to eight points on two occasions, the last time coming on a Maddie Simon layup with 5:31 left to make it 63-55 Huskers. NU maintained a 73-66 lead after freshman Rylie Cascio Jensen hit a free throw with 39 seconds left, but the Bearcats had one comeback left. Forward Kiana Peterson connected on her second three-pointer of the game to cut NU’s margin to 73-69 left. Sophomore forward Caylee Richardson added a jumper to cut the margin to 73-71 with 14 seconds left, before a turnover at midcourt by Shepard gave the Bearcats one last shot. Peterson, who finished with eight points, got a wide open look from just left of the top of the key but could not find the mark with her third three of the game and Nebraska came away with the win.
Following the game, first-year Coach Amy Williams took to the public address microphone to thank the 4,400 Husker fans in attendance for her first game on the Nebraska sideline. . The Huskers open regular-season play Saturday in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. Tip-off between Nebraska and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 1 p.m.