The Illinois defense held Nebraska to its lowest offensive output of the season, as the Fighting Illini escaped the Devaney Center with a 62-52 women's basketball win over the Huskers on Thursday night.
Nebraska slipped to 12-6 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten, while Illinois improved to 10-7 and 3-2 in the conference.
Jordan Hooper led the Huskers with 17 points and six rebounds, while Emily Cady managed nine points and eight boards. Lindsey Moore contributed nine points and three assists.
The Huskers hit just 19-of-58 shots from the field (32.8 percent), including 7-of-26 from three-point range (26.9 percent). NU committed a season-high 26 turnovers against the Fighting Illini's defensive pressure, but forced 24 miscues by Illinois. The Illini outrebounded NU, 45-36, led by 18 rebounds from Karisma Penn.
Penn finished with 12 points while grabbing 10 offensive boards to help Illinois outscore NU 15-9 on second-chance opportunities.
As a team, Illinois hit just 34.4 percent (21-61) of its shots from the floor, including 6-of-21 threes. The Illini excelled at the free throw line, hitting 14-of-15 shots, including 12-of-13 in the second half.
Adrienne GodBold led Illinois with 19 points before fouling out with just over four minutes to play, while Ivory Crawford added 15 points and four steals before fouling out with just under five minutes left.
Nebraska trailed 27-20 at the half after shooting just 24 percent (6-25) in the opening period. The Huskers were just 2-of-10 from three-point range and turned the ball over 16 times, while being outrebounded 23-22.
The Huskers were able to hang in against the Fighting Illini by holding Illinois to just 11-of-36 shooting (30.6 percent), including 3-of-13 from long range. Nebraska also outscored Illinois 6-2 at the line, while Illini starters GodBold and Alexis Smith both committed three first-half fouls. Smith did not pick up another foul the rest of the way, but committed eight second-half turnovers to finish with 13 for the game.
Illinois jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes, but after GodBold was whistled for her second foul, Nebraska answered with a 14-0 run to take a 14-9 lead. The Illini settled down to regain the lead behind eight first-half points from GodBold and six points and eight boards from Penn.
Hooper led all scorers with 10 first-half points, while Cady added six points and five boards. But Moore and Hailie Sample were the only other Huskers to find the scoring column with just two points apiece.
Nebraska opened the half with a three from Cady to cut the Illinois lead to 27-23. Tear'a Laudermill, who scored six points off the bench, trimmed the Illini edge to 35-32 with 15:16 left, but the Huskers could get no closer the rest of the way.
The Huskers return to Big Ten road action when they take on Minnesota Sunday in Minneapolis. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Golden Gophers at Williams Arena is set for 5 p.m. with live national television coverage by the Big Ten Network.