8:05 PM ET, February 9, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. -- After watching her team's worst shooting performance of the season, all Nebraska coach Connie Yori could do is write it off as just one of those nights.The timing was fortuitous for Michigan, which capitalized on the Cornhuskers' inability to put the ball in the basket in a 63-52 upset Thursday.Michigan (18-7, 7-5 Big Ten) led 32-12 at halftime after going on a 26-3 run and holding the Huskers (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) without a field goal for just over 14 minutes.The 12 first-half points were the fewest by a Top 25 team against an unranked opponent since then-No. 9 California scored 11 against Oregon State in February 2008, according to STATS LLC."Shooting is a funny thing," Yori said. "Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. They were giving us 3s. On a different day, maybe we shoot the ball better and it's a different game."The Huskers (19-4, 8-3) found themselves down 20 points at halftime after shooting 13 percent -- 4 of 30 overall, 1 of 15 on 3-pointers. They missed 17 consecutive shots, including eight 3s, and committed four turnovers as Michigan pulled away."If you told me we'd hold them under 20 points at halftime I would say you're nuts, not a chance," Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. "I had every imaginable, concocted defense figured out to stop them, because I didn't think we'd be able to stop them."Carmen Reynolds, who matched her season-high with 16 points, hit a 3 to start the 26-3 run after Nebraska's Hailie Sample scored inside with 16:49 left. That was the Huskers' only field goal until Jordan Hooper's double-pump bucket 2:46 before halftime.The Wolverines scored on three straight possessions to stretch their lead to double digits, with Kate Thompson and Reynolds dropping consecutive 3s to make it 22-8.Hooper made three free throws for the Huskers' only points during the field-goal drought, but there was a 12-minute span in which they were shut out. When the Huskers finally scored, the home crowd erupted with a sarcastic cheer."The first half, we couldn't buy a shot," Yori said. "Shooting has a tendency to be contagious. When shots go in, it makes the next shot a little easier. When you go 0 for eternity, it makes each shot a little more challenging."The Huskers finished at 26 percent against Michigan's man-to-man defense. The Wolverines cut off the lane and were content to let Nebraska launch 3-pointers. The Huskers made only 9 of 37."We were getting really good shots," said Lindsey Moore, who led the Huskers with 23 points. "It wasn't like our selection was awful. We had wide-open shots at times and weren't knocking them down."Michigan was up by 27 points early in the second half, but a spate of turnovers allowed the Huskers to cut it to eight with 2:01 left when Hooper made a jumper in the lane. The Wolverines made 5 of 7 free throws the rest of the way and the Huskers missed 5 of their last 6 shots."I knew they would come back," Reynolds said. "A team like that, they'll never give up. We were able to hold them until the end."Courtney Boylan added 14 points, Rachel Sheffer 13 and Nya Jordan 11 for Michigan, which shot 48 percent but committed 24 turnovers.Hooper had 14 points for the Huskers, who dropped into a three-way tie with Ohio State and Penn State for second place in the Big Ten. Purdue has a one-game lead.For Michigan, the win strengthens its resume for an NCAA at-large bid if it doesn't win the conference tournament."We've been bumped out the last couple years because we didn't have enough wins or wins at the end of the year," Borseth said. "It's important. We've really worked hard to put ourselves in position to do that. We're nowhere near done yet, but at least we're on the right path."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-46 (.478)||17-66 (.258)|
|3P Made-Attempted||8-16 (.500)||9-37 (.243)|
|FT Made-Attempted||11-13 (.846)||9-15 (.600)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||15 (0/0)|