Nicea Eliely’s late steal helps Huskers defeat Rutgers for first Big Ten win of the season

Nicea Eliely’s late steal helps Huskers defeat Rutgers for first Big Ten win of the season

LINCOLN — A rough Big Ten road for the Nebraska women’s basketball team found a smooth spot Tuesday night when NU beat Rutgers 62-58 for its first league win this season.

The Huskers (5-12 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten) trailed for all of 15 seconds of game time — early in the first quarter — before taking the lead and keeping it thanks to a zone defense that forced 17 turnovers and held the Scarlet Knights (5-13 and 2-3) to 33.3 percent shooting in the second half. No steal was bigger than freshman Nicea Eliely’s swipe with 36 seconds left, which led to two free throws and padded NU’s lead. The Huskers made 18 of 25 free throws — 72 percent, well above their season average.

Nebraska was led by sophomore center Jessica Shepard, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds, hitting jumpers from all over the court, including a 3-pointer. Jasmine Cincore scored 12 and had four steals, while Hannah Whitish added 11 points. Rutgers guard Khadaizsha Sanders finished with 17 points, while Aliyah Jeune added 15 points off the bench.

The Huskers led 31-27 at halftime. The Huskers opened up a 28-19 lead midway through the second quarter after a Shepard 3-pointer, but went the next four minutes, 50 seconds without a basket as Rutgers closed the half on a 8-3 run. The Scarlet Knights — the Big Ten’s worst-shooting team, especially on the road — hit 52.2 percent of its shots in the first half, but committed ten turnovers.

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