Huskers cruise past Spartans

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. — Kate Cain and Ashtyn Veerbeek both produced big double-doubles and Leigha Brown led four Huskers in double figures with a career-high 18 points, as Nebraska rolled to a 96-63 women's basketball win over San Jose State on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Cain, a 6-5 sophomore center from Middletown, N.Y., notched her second double-double of the year with season highs of 16 points and 17 rebounds while adding three blocked shots. Cain went 8-for-9 from the field, while also adding a pair of assists and two steals in just 23 minutes of action. It was the seventh double-double of Cain's career.

Veerbeek, a 6-2 freshman from Sioux Center, Iowa, posted her first double-double with career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds. Veerbeek pulled down 10 rebounds in nine first-half minutes, while adding eight points in the half.

Cain and Veerbeek combined to out-rebound San Jose State 31-21, while the rest of the Huskers added 25 more boards to give Nebraska a plus-28 rebound margin (56-28) on the afternoon. It tied for the 10th-best rebound margin in school history and marked the second straight game that the Big Red amassed a plus-20 or better margin on the glass.

Nebraska improved to 4-5 on the season with its second straight win, while San Jose State slipped to 1-7 on the year.

Brown added to the big games for Cain and Veerbeek by leading the Huskers with a career-high 18 points. The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Ind., hit 8-of-11 shots from the field including 2-of-5 three-pointers. Her early offense helped the Huskers get rolling after a slow start.

Nebraska trailed 5-4 five minutes into the game, before Brown supplied instant offense with a 15-foot jumper ahead of a three-pointer 40 seconds later to give the Huskers a 9-8 lead. She hit another three-pointer two minutes later to give NU a 14-8 lead with 1:28 left in the quarter. That remained the score at the end of the period, as Brown scored eight points in just over three minutes for the Big Red.

The Huskers continued to surge and pushed the lead to double digits for the first time at 19-8, before San Jose State used a 9-0 run on three consecutive three-pointers to trim the margin to 21-19 with 6:50 left in the second quarter.

Veerbeek and Cain combined for Nebraska's final 10 points of the quarter to send Nebraska to halftime with a 34-26 lead.

Nebraska out-rebounded San Jose State, 32-16 in the half. The Huskers hit just 35.9 percent (14-39) of their field goals, including 4-of-14 threes (.286) in the half but hit just 2-of-6 free throws and missed multiple uncontested layup chances in the half.

San Jose State hung around in the half by hitting 6-of-15 three-pointers (.400) while going 10-of-31 (.323) from the field overall. The Spartans did not attempt a free throw as the Huskers committed just two first-half fouls. Analyss Benally led San Jose State with eight first-half points, including 2-of-3 threes, while Cydni Lewis contributed five points and five rebounds.

The Huskers came out in full attack mode in the second half against San Jose State's zone, led by a three-point onslaught from Taylor Kissinger and Hannah Whitish. Kissinger, who finished with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting from three-point range, knocked down three threes in the first 4:39 of the third quarter to push Nebraska's lead to 52-33.

Whitish, who finished with nine points and eight assists, picked up four of her assists during the span while adding a three-pointer of her own.

San Jose State managed one more surge, ripping off a 10-0 run over the next 3:22 to cut the margin to 54-43 before Nebraska took a 62-49 lead to the fourth quarter.

Nebraska ended any upset hopes for the Spartans early in the fourth with an 11-0 run to start the quarter, capped by Kissinger's fifth three-pointer of the game with seven minutes left. The Big Red continued to surge throughout the period, outscoring San Jose State 34-14 to account for the final margin.

The Huskers shot a sizzling 60 percent (12-20) in the third quarter, including 4-of-8 threes before going off for 71.4 percent (15-21) from the field in the fourth, including 2-of-5 threes.

For the game, Nebraska hit 51.3 percent (41-80) shots, including 10-of-27 threes (.370), but just 4-of-11 free throws.

Nebraska held San Jose State to 37.1 percent (23-62) shooting, but the Spartans did connect on 42.3 percent (11-26) of their threes. They came to Lincoln averaging 10 made threes per game. San Jose State also hit 6-of-8 free throws and matched the Huskers in the turnover department with 15. Lewis, who went 3-for-4 from long range, led San Jose State with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Benally hit 4-of-7 threes to finish with 14 points.

Nebraska completes its three-game home stand next Saturday when the Huskers take on Denver. The game time for the match-up with the Pioneers will be announced soon, following the volleyball team's competition in the NCAA Elite Eight later today against Oregon in Minneapolis.