Women's basketball upsets No. 24 Nebraska
By Avi Zaleon
Since then, the No. 24/19 Cornhuskers had won 37 straight games in regular season play, including three games earlier this season in which they scored 90-plus points.
However, Sunday afternoon in Assembly Hall, the IU women’s basketball team made sure it would not witness Husker win No. 38 on its home floor, defeating Nebraska 67-61.
Senior guard Jori Davis said she and her teammates were not even aware that the streak existed.
“It’s not really about them, it’s about us getting this next win that we really needed as a team,” Davis said. “Sorry we had to break it, but we were at home, and we had to protect our home court.”
On paper, the odds were stacked against the Hoosiers.
Their squad was without forwards Sasha Chaplin and Kristiana Stauere against an already taller Nebraska team.
Four of the five Cornhusker starters were averaging double figures in points per game this season.
However, IU coach Felisha Legette-Jack said she knew that in order for her team to win, it would have to play to its strengths.
“With this team here, resiliency comes to mind. We know our deficiencies. We know that we’re short and have guards playing the post, we know our shots aren’t going to fall all the time. But what happens if we forget about what we can’t do and just do the things that we can do?” she said. “We can play defense, we can play as a unit, we can defend what we believe belongs to us, and today they illustrated that, and I couldn’t be more proud of this team than I am today.”
Legette-Jack said part of the Hoosiers’ game plan against Nebraska was to nullify the scoring of guard Lindsey Moore, who was scoring an average of 12.3 points per game.
“It’s very difficult to play without the head, and we knew that (Moore) was the head of their body,” Legette-Jack said.
The Hoosier defense held Moore to a single point throughout the game while limiting the Cornhuskers to their lowest score of the season.
“We were calling out the shooters, the cutters, everything,” junior forward Danilsa Andujar said. “We communicated where their shooters were at all times and just got out there and worked hard.”
In a game that saw 13 lead changes and a margin no bigger than eight points, every possession became a battle down the stretch.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Davis took an elbow to her face and was lying on the ground in pain while play was stopped. The inadvertent hit left the Hoosiers’ leading scorer and rebounder holding her left eye as she was helped off the court.
With her team up 49-47, Davis watched from the bench during the next three minutes as the lead evaporated into a two-point deficit. Following a media timeout, she checked back in and played the remainder of the game.
“It was a little pain, but we were playing Nebraska, No. 19,” Davis said. “I could not sit down and let a little pain stop me from getting back on that court.”
With their senior leader on the floor, the Hoosiers once again swapped the lead with the Cornhuskers twice. Then, in a play that Legette-Jack said “changed the game,” senior guard Whitney Lindsay assisted Andrea McGuirt for a reverse layup and foul with 1:14 to play. The three-point play ignited a 4-0 Hoosier run in the last minute of the game to solidify the upset victory.
After the loss, Nebraska coach Connie Yori said it was the intangibles not on the stat sheet that gave the Hoosiers a win.
“You have to give them credit. I thought they played with a lot of energy and a lot of passion,” Yori said. “It looked like they were the team that wanted it more.”