Huskers Overpower Iowa, 92-74
Iowa City - Nebraska put together its most complete performance of the season for the second consecutive game, racing to a 36-point lead in the third quarter before cruising to a 92-74 win over USA Today/WBCA No. 25 Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers, who improved to 16-6 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten, extended their winning streak to four games while notching their ninth consecutive road victory. The Hawkeyes slipped to 16-6 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten, as Nebraska completed a season sweep of Iowa.
Junior forward Maddie Simon led four Huskers in double figures with 19 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Simon hit career bests with 9-of-10 free throws to lead a Nebraska team that hit 25-of-29 free throws in the game.
Sophomore point guard Hannah Whitish continued her impressive play with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while adding a game-high six assists to go along with two steals.
Senior guard Janay Morton came off the bench to score a season-high 13 points in just 14 minutes, including an amazing nine-point explosion in the final two minutes of the first quarter.
Fellow senior guard Jasmine Cincore added 13 points of her own on 6-of-7 shooting to go along with four rebounds, two assists and two steals in just 22 minutes in one of the most complete performances of her career. In all 10 Huskers scored at least three points in the game, while 11 players grabbed at least one rebound.
Nebraska finished at 49.2 percent (30-61) from the field including 7-of-20 three-pointers (.350), while knocking down 25-of-29 free throws (.862). The Huskers dominated the boards, 44-33, but lost the turnover battle for the game, 21-16.
The Huskers held Iowa to 41.2 percent (28-68) from the floor, including just 1-of-12 from three-point range. In two games against Iowa this season, Nebraska held the Hawkeyes to just 1-for-19 from long range. Iowa did hit 17-of-23 free throws.
The final score and stats don't do justice to the domination of Nebraska in the first three quarters, as Nebraska built a 77-43 lead after 30 minutes. Iowa disrupted the Nebraska offense in the fourth by committing 12 fouls and coming away with 12 turnovers. Nebraska went just 1-for-3 from the floor in the final period. NU, which did not have a player compete for as many as 28 minutes in the game, forced just one turnover by the Hawkeyes in the fourth quarter, after turning Iowa over 15 times in the first three periods.
Megan Gustafson led Iowa with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, while Kathleen Doyle added 16 points and four assists for Iowa in 39 minutes.
In one of the best first-half performances in Nebraska women's basketball history, the Huskers led 56-26 at halftime after putting up the most points in school history in the first half against any conference opponent (Big Eight, Big 12 or Big Ten).
The Huskers trailed 11-7 with four minutes left in the first quarter before Morton erupted by burying three three-pointers in a two-minute span, including a 35-footer at the buzzer to end the first quarter. Nebraska outscored the Hawkeyes 15-1 to end the first quarter, holding the Hawkeyes without a field goal for the final 5:39 of the opening period on their home court.
The Big Red weren't satisfied with the electrifying end the first quarter, opening the second period with 10-0 run in the first 1:17 to force an Iowa timeout and push its lead to 32-12. Iowa then stayed within striking distance for the next five minutes, cutting the Nebraska margin to 41-24 with 3:23 left, before an 11-0 run by the Huskers in just over a minute extended the lead again.
Nebraska continued to surge to close the half, outscoring the Hawkeyes 34-14 in the second quarter. For the half, the Huskers hit 56.4 percent (22-39) of their shots from the field, including 5-of-14 three-pointers. The Big Red were also a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw, outrebounded Iowa, 22-16, and dominated the Hawkeyes 11-6 in the turnover department. Whitish led the Huskers with 11 first-half points, while Simon added 10 points and five rebounds in the half. In addition to Morton's nine first-half points, Cincore contributed nine points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. In all nine Huskers scored at least two points in the first half.
Iowa got 11 points and seven rebounds in the half from Gustafson, but the rest of the Hawkeyes managed just 15 points and nine rebounds in the half. The Huskers held Iowa to just 35.5 percent (11-37) shooting, including just 1-of-7 threes and 3-of-5 free throws.
Nebraska effectively ended any Hawkeye hopes of a comeback by scoring the first six points of the second half in just 1:32 to build a 36-point advantage. Iowa trailed by 34 at the end of three quarters, 77-43.
Nebraska opens a three-game Big Ten home stand on Thursday, when they Huskers play host to Illinois. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Fighting Illini at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m.