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Broback, Minnesota hold off late Nebraska rally

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Jamie Broback showed just how valuable she is to No. 10 Minnesota.

Playing in first home game since a one-week leave of absence for personal reasons, Broback scored 22 points in the Gophers' 78-70 victory over Nebraska on Saturday.

Broback came off the bench and made her first five shots to help Minnesota to an early 21-point lead. After the Cornhuskers caught up in the second half, Broback made a couple key baskets to put the Gophers (5-1) ahead for good.

"I knew what my role was and I tried to contribute to the team and get a little spark in there," Broback said. "Everyone stepped up in that sense when we knew we had to get a stop and convert on the other end. I knew I needed to step up as well."

The Gophers made 14 of their first 16 shots and led 45-24 late in the first half, but Nebraska (2-3) held Minnesota without a field goal for nearly seven minutes to cut the gap to 49-48.

"We stood up a little bit and relaxed on the boards and on defense, and they hit some tough shots," Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. "We've got to be able to sustain the type of basketball we played in the first 17 minutes."

Kiera Hardy led Nebraska with 22 points, despite making just 8-of-25 shots. She was hampered by foul trouble, picking up three fouls in the first half and her fourth after hitting a 3-pointer that gave the Cornhuskers the lead at 51-49.

"I think that was the turning point of my shooting," Hardy said. "I lost my touch. I get streaky, that's probably the story of my career. It's just one of those nights when a lot of shots didn't fall."

Broback then scored six of Minnesota's next eight points to give the Gophers the lead for good. The Cornhuskers kept the pressure on, pulling to 67-66 with 2:39 left on LaToya Howell's 3-pointer, Nebraska's ninth of the game.

"We felt at halftime that we had a great chance to win the game," Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. "Minnesota made more plays that we did. Broback is a great player, they need her on the floor. She has a really good feel for the game."

Two free throws by Kelly Roysland and a layup and free throw by Podominick gave the Gophers breathing room at 72-66 with 1:51 remaining.

April Calhoun added 12 points and Roysland had 11 for Minnesota, which shot 61 percent from the field on 25-for-41 shooting. Nebraska made just 23-of-63 for 37 percent.

Kelsey Griffin added 14 for the Cornhuskers, while Howell had 12 and TK LaFleur 10.