Huskers roll to exhibition win over Rogers State

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Kate Cain, Ashtyn Veerbeek and Sam Haiby led a balanced Nebraska attack with 12 points apiece as the Huskers rolled to a 97-33 women's basketball exhibition win over Rogers State in front of 3,289 fans on Saturday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Cain, a 6-5, junior from Middletown, N.Y., added nine rebounds off the bench in 18 minutes of action to help the Huskers to a whopping 73-27 edge on the glass against the NCAA Division II Hillcats from Claremore, Okla. Veerbeek and Haiby each pitched in six rebounds, as eight Huskers grabbed five or more boards in the game.

Senior Grace Mitchell led the Huskers with 12 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end, to go along with nine points as a starter. Fellow senior Nicea Eliely added 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass, while pitching in six points. As a team, Nebraska pulled down 35 offensive boards.

Freshman Trinity Brady was strong in her first home appearance in a Husker uniform with eight points and eight rebounds, while fellow freshman Isabelle Bourne contributed six points and five rebounds in somewhat limited action after battling an illness earlier in the week. Nebraska's third freshman, Makenzie Helms, also pitched in six points.

Every Husker on the roster scored in the win, including 10 points, six rebounds and four assists from sophomore Leigha Brown. Senior guard Hannah Whitish pitched in seven points, while fellow senior guard Kristian Hudson contributed five points and three assists.

As a team, Nebraska hit 45.7 percent (37-81) of its shots from the field, including 5-of-18 three-pointers (.278). The Huskers also connected on 18-of-32 free throws (.563). The Big Red combined for 21 assists against just 12 turnovers.

Nebraska played solid defense throughout the game and controlled the glass, resulting in long stretches of shutout basketball. The Huskers held the Hillcats without a field goal for the first five minutes of the game to take a 14-1 lead before back-to-back threes by Lilly Garner and Vanessa Gajdosova in a 25-second span cut NU's lead to 14-7. The Huskers shut out the Hillcats the rest of the quarter to finish the period on an 11-0 run and take a 25-7 lead to the second quarter.

The Husker offense stayed consistent in the second quarter, putting up 25 more points while surrendering 14 to take a 50-21 lead to halftime. Nebraska was even better in the third quarter, opening the period with a 23-0 run in the first 7:30. The Huskers outscored the Hillcats 25-3 in the quarter to take a 75-24 lead to the fourth. Nebraska added a 22-9 edge in the fourth quarter for the final margin.

Gajdosova led Rogers State with eight points, while Garner and Samariah Thompson each pitched in six points for the Hillcats. Nebraska held Rogers State to just 20 percent shooting (12-60), including 7-of-32 threes (.219). RSU went 2-for-4 at the free throw line and committed 19 turnovers.

Nebraska opens regular-season action on Wednesday, Nov. 6 against Alabama A&M. A special noon tip-off has been set at Pinnacle Bank Arena, as the Huskers play host to the Nebraska Life Skills Sportsmanship Pep Rally at 9:30 a.m. In partnership with the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame, the Life Skills Sportsmanship Pep Rally will include inspirational messages from Nebraska student-athletes and coaches, including Head Coach Amy Williams, and Alabama A&M Head Coach Margaret Richards - a former Husker. Elementary and middle grades students from 27 school districts around the state will be participating in the rally.

Doors to Pinnacle Bank Arena will open at 11 a.m. for the game. Tickets are available now at Huskers.com.