Senior Nicea Eliely erupted for her first career double-double by putting up 12 points and pulling down a career-best 15 rebounds to lead Nebraska to a 78-55 women’s basketball win over Morgan State on Thursday night.
Sophomore Leigha Brown added a big spark off the bench with a game-high 16 points and a career-high-matching five assists to help the Huskers improve to 3-0 on the young season. Sophomore Ashtyn Veerbeek and Kate Cain each pitched in 13 points inside to drop Morgan State to 2-2 on the season.
As a team, Nebraska went 24-for-52 from the floor and an impressive 28-for-35 from the free-throw line to overcome a 2-for-13 shooting performance from three-point range. The Husker defense held the Bears to a 32.9 shooting percentage (23-for-70), but Morgan State hit six threes to stay within striking distance through three quarters.
Nebraska led 52-48 heading into the final period, despite hitting just 13-of-36 field goals through the first 30 minutes. The Bears cut it to 52-50 to open the fourth, but Nebraska hit 11-of-16 shots in the final period, including 2-of-3 threes to win going away. The Huskers, who outscored Morgan State 26-7 in the final period, finished the game on a 20-3 surge.
At the half, the game was tied, 30-30. Both teams got off to slow starts, going a combined 20-for-53 (38 percent) from the floor. The Huskers had the advantage at the foul line though, which kept them in the game. NU shot 16-for-20 in the half, while Morgan State didn’t take a single shot from the line in the first 20 minutes of play. Despite the slow start, the Huskers had a strong finish to the half, making five of their last seven field goals. Veerbeek led the Huskers with 11 points in the first half. Brown finished with six points and three assists, while Eliely had eight boards.
Nebraska led 14-11 after the first quarter. The Huskers made just two shots from the floor, but were clutch from the free-throw line going a perfect 10-for-10. Veerbeek scored Nebraska’s first four points of the game after a shot from the field and a pair of free throws. NU held Morgan State scoreless for nearly four minutes before the Bears drained a three to get on the board. Veerbeek, Brown and Isabelle Bourne led the Huskers with four points each in the first. In the second quarter, Veerbeek scored Nebraska’s first seven points. She led the Huskers with 11 points overall in the first half.
Nebraska is back in action on Sunday as the team welcomes SIUE to Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. The Huskers will celebrate Alumni Weekend.