Senior Maddie Simon scored 16 points while junior Hannah Whitish pitched in 15, but the Nebraska women's basketball team suffered an 85-68 loss at No. 5 Louisville on Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at the KFC Yum! Center.
Simon, a 6-2 forward from Lincoln, hit 6-of-11 shots from the floor including 2-of-4 three-pointers, while adding four rebounds and two assists for the Huskers, who slipped to 2-4 on the year.
Whitish hit 4-of-8 shots, including 2-of-4 threes, while adding three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals for the Big Red. Freshman Sam Haiby gave the Huskers three in double figures with 12 points.
Junior Nicea Eliely added eight points while Kate Cain pitched in five points and a game-high 10 rebounds along with a game-high three blocked shots for the Big Red.
All-American and ACC Player of the Year Asia Durr led all scorers with 25 points while contributing a game-high eight assists for the Cardinals. Durr also grabbed six rebounds for Louisville, which improved to 7-0 on the season with the victory.
Senior forward Sam Fuehring pitched in a double-double for Louisville with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Arica Carter (12) and Bionca Dunham (11) gave the Cardinals four players in double figures for the game.
The difference in the game came in possessions, as the Cardinals attempted 64 field goals compared to 52 for Nebraska. Louisville scored 26 points off 23 Nebraska turnovers and got nine second-chance points compared to just three for the Huskers. NU did manage 15 points off 15 U of L miscues, but in those two categories combined Louisville outscored Nebraska by 17 points in the game.
The Huskers hit 42.3 percent (22-52) of their shots from the field, including 6-of-18 threes (.333), while also hitting 18-of-24 free throws (.750). Nebraska was out-rebounded, 35-33 and lost the turnover battle 23-15.
Louisville hit a solid 51.6 percent (33-64) of its shots from the floor, including 7-of-20 threes (.350), while going 12-of-20 (.600) at the free throw line.
Nebraska got off to a solid start, taking an 11-10 lead on Eliely's second layup of the quarter with 4:48 left. But the Cardinals responded with an 11-3 surge, including a 6-0 run to end the quarter and take a 21-14 edge to the second quarter.
Eliely got another layup to open the second quarter, but Louisville got five straight points from Durr to take its biggest lead of the half at 26-16 with 8:29 to play.
The Huskers then responded with five straight points, including a three-pointer from Simon to trim the margin to 26-21 with 6:30 left in the half. The Huskers remained within striking distance and trailed the Cardinals 40-31 at the half.
Nebraska shot 54.5 percent from the field in the half, going 6-for-11 in both the first and second quarters, while going 2-for-6 from three-point range. The Huskers were also 5-of-8 from the free throw line.
NU out-rebounded the Cards 15-14, but had no offensive rebounds. The Big Red also lost the first-half turnover battle 13-6.
Haiby led the Huskers with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting including a three-pointer in the half, while Simon contributed seven points on 3-of-5 shooting with a three of her own. Eliely contributed six points on a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor.
Durr led all scorers with 14 points in the half, while Fuehring contributed eight first-half points.
The Cardinals hit 17-of-33 shots from the floor, but just 2-of-9 threes and 4-of-7 free throws.
Nebraska trailed by just seven at 52-45 with 4:22 left in the third quarter after a tough finish by Ashtyn Veerbeek. The Huskers were within eight points at 58-50 after a three-pointer by Taylor Kissinger with 1:24 left in the quarter, but the Cardinals scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 62-50 lead to the final period.
Louisville pushed the lead to 24 points at 81-57 with 3:30 left in the game, but the Huskers responded with a 9-0 run in the next 59 seconds to close the gap to 81-66 with 2:22 left. The run was aided by technical fouls on both Durr and Louisville Coach Jeff Walz with 3:21 left in the game.
Nebraska completes its five-game non-conference road trip by taking on Creighton in Omaha on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Bluejays at D.J. Sokol Arena is set for 1 p.m. with live radio coverage by the Husker Sports Network. A live video stream also will be provided by Fox Sports Go.