East Lansing, Mich. – Sam Haiby led four Huskers in double figures with 19 points, but the Nebraska women’s basketball team suffered a 78-70 overtime loss at Michigan State on Saturday at the Breslin Center.
Nebraska took its first road loss of the season to slip to 11-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten, while the Spartans improved to 6-0 at home on the year to move to 8-5 and 1-1 in the league. Sophomore Nia Clouden led five Spartans in double figures with 16 points and seven assists, while senior point guard Taryn McCutcheon scored all 15 of her points in the game after halftime to help Michigan State rally from a 10-point second-half deficit to victory.
Rebounding was the key stat in the second half and the game, as the Spartans were plus-15 on the boards after halftime, winning the battle 53-35 for the game. In the first half, Michigan State held a 20-17 edge on the boards but trailed 29-23 on the scoreboard.
The Huskers quickly pushed the lead to 10 points on their first two possessions of the second half, taking a 33-23 lead with 9:18 left in the third quarter, but McCutcheon’s three-pointer with 1:41 left in the third cut the NU lead to 41-40. Nebraska shut out the Spartans the rest of the quarter and maintained its six-point advantage at the end of the period (46-40).
Husker senior Hannah Whitish capped an 8-0 run with Nebraska’s only three-pointer of the second half to give Nebraska a 49-40 lead with 9:17 left in regulation. A layup by Nicea Eliely, who finished with 14 points, kept NU’s margin at nine (51-42), before the Spartans erupted on a 10-0 run over the next 3:24 to take a 52-51 lead with 5:06 left on a Kayla Belles three-point play. Belles finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Spartans.
The two teams were in a dogfight for the rest of regulation, as the Huskers regained a 53-52 lead on an Ashtyn Veerbeek short-corner jumper with 3:53 left. Kate Cain, who notched her second straight double-double and 10th of her career with 10 points and 14 rebounds, scored to give Nebraska 55-53 lead with 3:03 left, before another Eliely layup put the Big Red up 57-54 with 1:26 left. Cain added four blocks in the game to move into sole possession of second place on NU’s career block list with 217.
However, Nia Clouden’s three-pointer with 57 seconds left tied the game at 57.
Haiby hit a free throw with 37.1 left to put Nebraska back up by one, before Brown added a free throw with 15.7 left to give Nebraska a 59-57 lead. Brown finished with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists. Both teams missed four free throws in the fourth quarter.
The Huskers played solid defense and the Spartans were in a scramble on the floor before the ball rolled out of bounds off NU with 3.8 seconds. On the ensuing sideline out-of-bounds throw-in, NU’s Isabelle Bourne deflected the pass and dove after the ball in the corner with MSU’s Tory Ozment. Bourne was called for a loose-ball foul with 2.2 seconds left, sending the 90 percent free throw shooter Ozment to the line. Ozment tied the game by hitting both free throws to send it to overtime. Ozment finished with 11 points.
Michigan State won the tip in overtime and scored on a Belles layup 20 seconds into the extra period and Nebraska was never able to recover. A free throw by Haiby cut the margin to 61-60 but the third three-pointer of the game by Moira Joiner, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds, gave the Spartans a four-point lead before they took their biggest lead of the game to that point on a shot by McCutcheon to make it 66-60. Clouden’s second three of the game followed by a pair of McCutcheon free throws put MSU up nine (73-64) with 35 seconds left.
For the game, Nebraska hit 42.6 percent (26-61) of its shots from the field but just 2-for-17 threes (.118). The Huskers also hit just 61.5 percent (16-26) of their free throws. Nebraska did win the turnover battle 19-18 and outscored MSU 20-11 in points off turnovers in the game.
Michigan State hit just 37.5 percent (27-72) of its shots, but hit 7-of-20 threes (.350) including 6-of-15 in the second half. The Spartans also hit 17-of-25 free throws, including 6-of-7 in OT. MSU outscored Nebraska 22-9 in second-chance points.
Nebraska used a big 10-0 run midway through the first quarter to take control after trailing the Spartans 8-4 early. Haiby and freshman Trinity Brady were the keys to the Big Red burst, with Brady getting two points, two steals and a big defensive rebound while Haiby added a steal and back-to-back three-point plays.
Haiby finished with eight in the first quarter to shoot Nebraska to a 20-12 lead, before adding seven in the second period to send the Huskers to the halftime locker room with a 29-23 edge. Haiby finished with 15 points in the half and went 6-for-6 from the field including NU’s only three-pointer, while hitting both her free throws. She added three assists, three steals and a rebound in the half.
Cain helped the Huskers with six points and seven rebounds in the half, as Nebraska hit 42.9 percent (12-28) of its shots, but just 1-of-8 threes. The Huskers went 4-for-4 at the line and won the turnover battle 10-9 in the half. Nebraska turned MSU’s 10 turnovers into 14 points, while Spartans converted NU’s turnovers to just four points in the first half. Michigan State won the first-half battle of the boards 20-17.
The Spartans, who were playing without injured fifth-year senior starters Shay Colley and Victoria Gaines, hit just 35.5 percent (11-31) of their shots from the floor, including 1-of-5 threes. Five Spartans finished with four or more points, led by five points from freshman Moira Joiner on 2-of-7 shooting.
Nebraska returns home Saturday to play host to No. 24 Minnesota. Tip-off between the Huskers and the Golden Gophers on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 5 p.m.,