8:05 PM ET, January 12, 2005
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Two days after No. 2 Baylor (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today; No. 2 AP) achieved its highest ranking in program history with a 12-game winning streak, the Bears fell flat against resurgent Nebraska.Kiera Hardy scored a career-high 37 points and Jelena Spiric made all eight of her free throws in the third overtime to help the Cornhuskers beat a Top 5 team for the first time, 103-99 Wednesday night."We didn't do some things right on the defensive end, but Nebraska fought hard, and I give those guys full credit," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said. "Nebraska didn't play out of their minds. They just played good, solid basketball."Hardy, who scored 15 of her points after regulation, made jump shots to force the second and third overtimes.Nebraska (11-4, 3-0 Big 12) has won five straight. The Huskers were 25-of-30 from the free throw line in the extra periods and made a school-record 46 of 54 for the game.Baylor (12-2, 2-1) had a 37-24 advantage in field goals, but the Bears struggled at the line, making 21 of 33."I feel bad someone had to lose that game, but not that bad," Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. "That was a landmark victory for our program."Mulkey-Robertson said free throws were the difference."When you outscore someone by 13 field goals, all you've got to do is make your free throws to have a good chance of winning," Mulkey-Robertson said. "We missed too many free throws, and we just weren't a very intelligent team tonight."Spiric, who had a career-high 19 points despite shooting just 2-of-11 from the field, made six free throws to give Nebraska the lead for good at 93-90. Nebraska secured the win in the last 15 seconds with two free throws by Jina Johansen and two more by Elena Diaz.Sophia Young led the Bears with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Steffanie Blackmon had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Chanelle Fox 14 points and 10 rebounds.Diaz had 11 points and Johansen 10.Hardy's jumper in the lane gave the Huskers an 80-78 lead with 7.2 seconds left in the first overtime, but Young hit a shot from the left wing just before the buzzer to force a second overtime.Hardy's sixth 3-pointer of the game, with 29.5 seconds on the clock, tied it at 87, and the game went into a third overtime when Chelsea Whitaker missed a layup at the buzzer."All week all we heard about was the No. 2 team in the country, and how are we going to keep from getting blown out?" Hardy said. "We can play with any team if we played hard and work together."Baylor led by as much as 13 points in the second half, but the Cornhuskers kept making runs and tied it with 18.3 seconds left on Spiric's two free throws.The Huskers had difficulty matching up against Blackmon and Young, but over the last 5 minutes of regulation Young scored just four points and Blackmon was held scoreless as Nebraska rallied.Baylor made only two of six free throws in the last 1:16 of regulation. Hardy, meanwhile, hit two free throws and Spric scored to pull the Huskers to 67-66 with 26.6 seconds left. After Whitaker made a free throw for Baylor, Spiric hit her game-tying foul shots.The Bears tried to win it with a final shot, but Whitaker missed a driving layup at the buzzer.
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