Freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek scores 19 to lead Nebraska to road win over Illinois

Freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek scores 19 to lead Nebraska to road win over Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Nebraska women to a 77-67 Big Ten win over Illinois on Thursday night.

Veerbeek, whose previous high was 14, also hit some timely baskets as she helped Nebraska snap a three-game losing streak.

The Huskers, who never trailed in the game, saw their early 14-point lead whittled to 42-37 midway through the third quarter. Veerbeek scored six points the rest of the quarter as Nebraska took a 57-44 lead.

Illinois made another push in the fourth quarter, cutting its deficit to 66-59 with 2:35 left.

But Veerbeek capped her night with a 3-pointer at the 1:45 mark, and the Huskers made eight free throws after that to secure the win. Nebraska was 17 of 22 from the foul line in the second half.

Illinois was forced to play from behind all night as Nebraska raced to a 19-5 lead in the first seven minutes. Hannah Whitish and Taylor Kissinger each hit two 3-pointers during the quick start.

Whitish finished with 12 points, seven assists and no turnovers, while Kissinger hit three 3-pointers and finished with 10 points.

Kayla Mershon made her first career start for NU and scored five points, but led by Veerbeek, the Huskers got a boost from their bench — 40 of Nebraska’s points came from non-starters.

Freshman Aerial Scott scored a career-high 23 points to lead Illinois, while Alex Wittinger had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Nebraska, 8-9 and 3-3 in league play, will play at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday at 5 p.m. against No. 23 Minnesota.

Nebraska (8-9, 3-3)……………25 11 21 20—77

At Illinois (9-8, 1-5)……………17 12 15 ​23—67

NU: Whitish 3-9 4-6 12, Cain 4-5 0-0 8, Kissinger 3-6 1-2 10, Mershon 1-2 2-2 5, Eliely 1-3 0-0 2, Veerbeek 6-9 6-9 19, Brown 4-11 2-4 10, Haiby 1-5 5-5 7, Simon 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 25-53 20-28 77.

UI: Wittinger 6-14 2-4 14, Beasley 2-4 1-2 5, Andrews 2-6 0-0 5, Joens 1-8 0-0 2, Ephraim 1-4 0-0 2, Scott 6-14 7-9 23, Rice 5-10 0-0 11, Shewan 2-4 0-0 5. Totals: 25-64 10-17 67.

3-point field goals: NU 7-22 (Whitish 2-6, Kissinger 3-5, Mershon 1-2, Eliely 0-1, Veerbeek 1-3, Brown 0-3, Haiby 0-2), UI 7-24 (Wittinger 0-2, Andrews 1-2, Joens 0-3, Ephraim 0-1, Scott 4-11, Rice 1-2, Shewan 1-3).

Rebounds: NU 32 (Veerbeek 8), UI 40 (Wittinger 13). Assists: NU 13 (Whitish 7), UI 8 (Wittinger 2, Rice 2, Shewan 2).

A: 1,349.

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