Huskers go cold at Rutgers
Piscataway, N.J. - Nebraska struggled through its coldest shooting day of the season, missing its first 21 three-pointers to fall behind Rutgers by 14 points at the end of three quarters on the way to a 57-45 defeat at Jersey Mike's Arena on Saturday.
While the Huskers (10-6, 2-3 Big Ten) finished 2-for-25 from long range on the day, Rutgers hit 6-of-18 threes to account for the difference in a low-scoring affair. Overall, Nebraska hit season lows of 28.2 percent from the floor (17-60) and 8.0 percent from three-point range. NU also connected on just 9-of-16 free throws.
Nebraska's defense held Rutgers (7-10, 1-4 Big Ten) to just 36.8 percent (21-57) shooting, but the Scarlet Knights hit 9-of-11 free throws. The Huskers also got out-rebounded 46-35 by Rutgers. NU won the turnover battle 21-13, including committing just four turnovers in the second half.
Maddie Krull led Nebraska with 11 points, including the Huskers' first three-point make of the game with 4:44 left. She added five rebounds and three steals. Sam Haiby added 10 points, six rebounds and five steals. Isabelle Bourne finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
Nebraska started ice cold, going just 2-for-12 from the floor in the first quarter with both field goals early from Bourne that put the Huskers up 4-3 in the opening minutes. NU matched a school record by scoring just five first-quarter points, but trailed just 10-5 at the end of the period by playing solid defense.
The Huskers got going early in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 16-15 on an Annika Stewart layup midway through the period. But Rutgers responded by hitting its final four three-point attempts of the half, outscoring NU 14-5 down the stretch to take a 30-20 margin to halftime.
Nebraska's shooting struggles continued in the third quarter. The Big Red cut the Rutgers lead to 34-28 on a Krull layup with 5:42 left in the period, but the Huskers missed their last 10 field goal attempts of the quarter and trailed 45-31 heading to the final 10 minutes.
Rutgers then extended the margin to 17 on Kai Carter's three from the corner to open the fourth, and the Huskers got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Kaylene Smikle, who hit two of Rutgers' four threes to close the first half, finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and four steals. She was the only Scarlet Knight to finish in double figures. Antonia Bates, who hit the other two threes late in the first half, added eight points. Chyna Cornwell pitched in eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Nebraska returns to Big Ten home action Wednesday when the Huskers host Penn State. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Lady Lions at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m. with tickets available now at Huskers.com. Fans can also listen to free live audio on the Huskers App and Huskers.com, or follow the live video stream from B1G+.