Huskers rally for OT win at Wisconsin
Madison, Wis. - Emily Cady stole a post entry pass with two seconds left to preserve No. 22 Nebraska's 71-70 comeback women's basketball win at Wisconsin at Wednesday night.
With the victory, Nebraska notched its third straight win to improve to 16-5 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten, while the Badgers slipped to 10-12 overall and 3-7 in the conference.
Nebraska, which was held to a season-low 21 first-half points, was shackled with first-half foul trouble and had to overcome many challenges in the second half to escape from the Kohl Center with a victory for the third straight season.
Cady finished with her 10th double-double of the season and sixth in Big Ten play with 10 points and 11 rebounds to go along with five assists. Cady managed just two points, five rebounds and two assists in the first half while being handcuffed by two fouls in the first few minutes.
All-American Jordan Hooper had just two points and two rebounds in the first half while battling two early fouls as well. Hooper finished with 15 points and four rebounds, including 10 points and a pair of the threes in a 3:40 span to end regulation and the first 2:30 of the overtime.
In addition to Hooper's big shots and Cady's huge defensive play, junior guard Tear'a Laudermill erupted for another 20-point performance. Laudermill, who was coming off a career-high 26 on Saturday at Iowa, poured in a team-high 21 points, including a career-high five three-pointers. Laudermill was just 1-for-6 from long range in the game's first 34 minutes before heating up to bury three straight threes in regulation and a fourth straight early in the overtime.
The first of those four came with 5:50 left to answer Wisconsin after the Badgers took their biggest lead of the night at 48-42.
Sophomore point guard Rachel Theriot added a clutch performance of her own with the second double-double of her career - with both coming in the last three games. Theriot finished with 11 points and a career-high-matching 11 assists. Theriot scored nine points after halftime, including a clutch jumper with 1:18 left to tie the game at 58.
Junior forward Hailie Sample put all five Husker starters in double figures with 10 points and seven rebounds. Sample's final two gave NU a brief 52-50 lead with 4:01 left. She also scored NU's first four points of the game.
As a team, Nebraska hit 30-of-69 shots from the field, including 16-of-32 in the second half and 4-of-6 in overtime. The Huskers finished 43.5 percent from the field, including 41.7 percent (10-24) from beyond the arc. Nebraska hit six of its final seven three-pointers for the game.
Nebraska was outrebounded 40-38, but won the turnover battle 12-8, including just three turnovers in the second half.
Wisconsin's Michala Johnson led all scorers with 24 points, including eight straight to open the overtime. Taylor Wurtz added 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while Morgan Paige had 11 points.
Wisconsin finished 44.3 percent (27-61) from the field, including a sizzling 7-of-9 from three-point range. UW outscored Nebraska 9-1 at the free throw line.
In a low-scoring first half that lacked flow and featured the most significant foul trouble of the season for the Husker front line, Nebraska trailed 26-21 at the break. Hooper, Cady and Allie Havers all had two fouls with more than six minutes left in the half, the first time any two of them had first-half foul trouble together this season.
Laudermill gave the Huskers a lift, taking over NU's offense with seven points in the final seven minutes of the half to hit NU's only three and pull the Huskers even at 19 with 2:47 left. Sample, who finished with six first-half points, mustered Nebraska's only points the rest of the way, as Wisconsin outscored the Huskers 7-2 down the stretch in the half.
Wurtz led Wisconsin with 10 first-half points, while Paige added six points. UW led despite hitting just 9-of-24 shots, but hit 3-of-4 threes and outscored NU 5-0 at the free throw line.
Nebraska hit just 10-of-31 shots, including just 1-of-10 threes. NU outrebounded the Badgers, 21-18 at the half and won the turnover battle 6-5. The 21 first-half points marked the lowest total in a half this season.
Neither team led by more than two possessions at any point in the game, but Wisconsin built a 48-42 edge before Laudermill caught fire in the second half. Her second three of the game cut the edge to 48-45, before her third triple trimmed the margin to 50-48 with 4:40 left. UW led 52-48, before a Sample layup an another Laudermill three put NU up 53-52 with 3:23 left.
Wisconsin then got back-to-back layups from Johnson to regain the lead at 56-53 with 2:10 left, before Hooper nailed a three of her own with 1:53 left to tie the game at 56.
UW got a pair of free throws from Paige, before Theriot's jumper tied it at 58. Then the Badgers got two more free throws from Wurtz to make it 60-58 with 51 seconds left. Hooper's turnaround jumper with 36 seconds left tied it at 60, before NU forced a Badger turnover by Paige at the other end. Nebraska got a shot off before time expired but it fell short.
After Wisconsin took a 64-62 lead after a pair of Johnson layups to open the overtime, Laudermill and Hooper hit back-to-back threes to match Nebraska's biggest lead of the game at 68-64 with 2:29 left in OT. After a Johnson layup, Laudermill answered with a highlight reel finger roll of her own to keep NU's edge at 70-66 with 1:58 to play. But back-to-back buckets by Johnson and Wurtz tied the score at 70 with 1:16 left in OT.
Cady was fouled with 1:01 left and gave NU its only point of the night at the free throw line by hitting her second free throw. The two defenses held down the stretch, as Cady's steal secured the final margin.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten home action on Saturday to take on Michigan State. Tip-off between the No. 22 Huskers and No. 24 Spartans at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 2 p.m.
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