Freshman Leigha Brown scored a game-high 13 points off the bench to lead Nebraska to a 94-41 win over Nebraska-Kearney Saturday.
Photo by Allyssa Hynes/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Cruise Past Lopers

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln - Nebraska dominated from start to finish, cruising to a 94-41 exhibition women's basketball win over Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Six Huskers finished in double figures led by 13 points from freshman Leigha Brown, who added five rebounds and three steals. Junior Nicea Eliely produced 12 points, four rebounds and three steals, while sophomore Taylor Kissinger pitched in 12 points on a game-high four three-pointers. She also pitched in six rebounds.

Preseason All-Big Ten guard Hannah Whitish contributed 11 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting while adding five assists, and sophomore center Kate Cain pitched in 11 points, six rebounds and a game-high five blocked shots.

Freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek rounded out the Huskers in double figures with 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds. All 11 Huskers on the roster scored at least two points and grabbed at least one rebound, and all played double-figure minutes. Freshmen Sam Haiby (8 points) and Kayla Mershon (6) and senior Kristian Hudson (5) completed an impressive debut by the five Husker newcomers, who combined for 42 points and 22 rebounds in 86 minutes. 

The Huskers exploded from the tip, racing to a 30-5 first-quarter lead. Nebraska jumped to a 9-0 lead before UNK's Cierra Dvorak opened the Loper scoring with a halfcourt bank shot as the shot clock expired to end NU's run.

The Huskers went back to work with 10 straight points, including six straight from freshmen Haiby, Brown and Veerbeek to push the Big Red lead to 19-3 just 5:38 into the game.

Brown capped Nebraska's 17-0 run with a pair of free throws two minutes later to extend the margin to 26-3, before UNK got its only first-quarter points out of its halfcourt offense with a bucket from Brooke Carlson in the paint with 2:05 left.

In a much more evenly played second quarter, Nebraska outscored the Lopers 20-17, closing the second quarter on a 7-0 run including a Cain jumper at the buzzer to make it 50-22 at halftime.

Cain and Haiby led the Huskers with eight points apiece, while Whitish and Eliely both pitched in seven points in the half. Those four Huskers combined to go 13-for-16 from the field in the first half.

Nebraska continued to pull away in the second half, outscoring UNK 22-15 in the third quarter before a dominant 22-4 edge in the fourth quarter.

For the game, Nebraska hit 47.8 percent (33-69) of its shots from the field, including 8-of-21 three-pointers. The Huskers were also a solid 20-for-25 from the free throw line. The Big Red outrebounded the Lopers 49-31, and won the turnover battle 25-14.

The Huskers held UNK to 30.4 percent (17-56) shooting from the floor, including just 2-for-12 from three-point range. The Lopers were also just 5-of-11 at the free throw line. 

Dvorak was the only Loper to manage double figures with 10 points, while Carlson finished with eight points and five rebounds. No other Loper scored more than five points.

Nebraska opens regular-season action on Wednesday night in Lincoln when the Huskers play host to Drake. Tip-off between the Big Red and the 2018 Missouri Valley Conference champion Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tickets are on sale now at Huskers.com.

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