Lincoln - The second-ranked Nebraska bowling team closed the regular season with a second-place finish at the Big Red Invitational after falling 4-3 to hot-shooting Arkansas State in the championship match on Saturday afternoon at the Big Red Invitational at Sun Valley Lanes.
The Cornhuskers posted a 9-1 record with a total pinfall of 12,145 as they took down five ranked teams on the weekend. The third-ranked Red Wolves knocked down 12,710 pins on the weekend.
After NU took a 2-1 lead in the championship match, Arkansas State fired 10 consecutive strikes to end game four and win 280-206 and square the match up at two games a piece. The Red Wolves continued their strong play with a 210-180 win in game five to take a 3-2 lead. The Big Red responded with a 216-193 win in game six to force a decisive game seven. In the final game, the Huskers left the first frame open, while Arkansas State hit nine strikes in the game and left no frames open to take the game 267-197.
In the opening round match, the Huskers, who began the day as the second seed, used a balanced performance to cruise to a 4-0 victory over Lincoln (Mo.). In the final game, the Huskers opened with seven consecutive strikes and hit nine strikes total to close out the match with a 259-157 victory.
Gazmine Mason led the Huskers in the individual standings with a season-high average of 229.6, good for fifth place overall as she earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Meghan Straub scored an average of 224 to finish seventh, while Julia Bond posted a 218.6 to finish ninth. Kelly Belzeski rounded out four Huskers with averages above 200, finishing 10th with a 213.6 average.
The Huskers will await selection to the 2017 NCAA Bowling Championship, with the NCAA Bowling Selection Show to take place on March 29 at 3 p.m. (CT). The show will be broadcast live on NCAA.com. The NCAA Championship is set for April 13-15 at River Center Baton Rouge in Baton Rouge, La. Nebraska has qualified for the NCAA Championship in each of the 13 seasons that bowling has been an NCAA-sanctioned sport, while claiming five NCAA championships in that time period.
Big Red Invitational Final Standings
1. Arkansas State
5. Central Missouri
8. Lincoln Memorial
9. Lincoln (Mo.)
Big Red Invitational All-Tournament Team (Average)
1. Jordan Richard - Arkansas State (246.8)
2. Haley Richard - Arkansas State (236.6)
3. Taylor Hoppe - Wisconsin-Whitewater (236.2)
4. Jadee Scott-Jones - Arkansas State (232.2)
5. Gazmine Mason - Nebraska (229.6)
Big Red Invitational
Lincoln, Neb. - Sun Valley Lanes
Thursday, March 2 - Five-Game Baker Matches - 4-0 Record
1. #2 Nebraska 1,037, Maryville 905
2. #2 Nebraska 1,095, Lincoln Memorial 822
3. #2 Nebraska 1,040, #25 Valparaiso 953
4. #2 Nebraska 1,195, #3 Arkansas State 1,157
Friday, March 3 - Traditional Team Matches - 4-0 Record
1. #2 Nebraska 1,102, #1 McKendree 1,033
2. #2 Nebraska 1,051 (Bye)
3. #2 Nebraska 1,030, Lincoln (Mo.) 846
4. #2 Nebraska 1,126, #10 Central Missouri 972
5. #2 Nebraska 1,088, #13 Wisconsin-Whitewater 964
Saturday, March 4 - Best-of-Seven Baker Championship Tournament 1-1 Record
Opening Round: #2 Nebraska 4, Lincoln 0
Championship Match: #3 Arkansas State 4, #2 Nebraska 3
Huskers in the Individual Standings (Average)
5. Gazmine Mason (229.6)
7. Meghan Straub (224)
9. Julia Bond (218.6)
10. Kelly Belzeski (213.6)
43. Raquel Orozco (197.3 - 3 games)
47. Briana Zabierek (188 - 2 games)