In the longest game in school
history, the Huskers improved to 11-4 overall and 3-0 in league play by erasing
a 13-point second-half deficit to forge a 68-68 tie at the end of regulation
against the visiting Bears, who slipped to 12-2 overall and 2-1 in Big 12
Prior to tonight, the longest game
in school history was a pair of double overtime games, most recently an 83-75
victory over Colorado on Feb. 14, 1996, as the Huskers won tonight's game at the
free throw line, converting a school-record 46 free throws in in a school-record
54 attempts, breaking the previous mark of 37 and 46 against Missouri on Feb.
Jelena Spiric led the Huskers' charge at the free throw, connecting on 15-of-16 free throws after halftime, to finish with a career-high 19 points. Spiric, who earned repeated trips to the free throw line in overtime with dribble penetration from the wing, scored NU's first eight points of the third overtime at the free throw to put the Huskers' in the driver seat down the stretch. The reigning Big 12 Rookie of the Week, Spiric added a career-high nine rebounds while playing a career-high 44 minutes. Spiric's 15 free throws made ranked as the second-highest total by an individual in school history, while her 16 attempts ranked fourth on the NU chart.
While Spiric sealed the win for the
Huskers, it was Hardy who set the tone. The 5-6 sophomore from
Hardy, who hit 10-of-25 shots from
the field, including 6-of-10 three-pointers, also hit 11-of-13 free
throws. She produced her eighth 20-point scoring effort of the season and
topped her previous high of 31 against
The Bears had opportunities to win the game at the end of the game and in the second overtime, but could not convert as Chelsea Whitaker, who went 1-for-6 from the field before fouling out in the third overtime, missed a lay-up with seven seconds left in regulation and missed a short jumper at the end of the second overtime.
The Huskers took the game over in the third overtime, converting 14-of-16 from the foul line, including a perfect 8-for-8 effort from Spiric. Behind the foul shooting of Spiric, the Huskers built a 95-90 lead with 1:50 remaining. Baylor came right back, scoring six of the next eight points to close to within 97-96 on an Angela Tisdale jumper with 30.8 seconds left. The Bears then fouled Elena Diaz, who split the pair to give NU a 98-96 lead. On BU's next possession, Chanelle Fox split a pair of foul shots to pull the Bears within one with 13.9 second left, but could get no closer, as Diaz, who finished with 11 points, made the first free throw, but missed the second which was tipped by Spiric to Danielle Page for the offensive rebound. Jina Johansen then gave NU an insurmountable 101-97 advantage with 9.4 seconds left.
Johansen scored 10 of her points
after halftime and tied her season-high with eight assists while setting the
school record for minutes played. The 5-7 guard from
The Huskers were fortunate to send the game to overtime, outscoring the Bears, 16-7 over the last eight minutes to overcome a 61-52 deficit. While the Huskers shined at the foul line, the Bears went into hibernation, hitting only 4-of-9 free throws in the final four minutes of regulation. Trailing 66-60 with two minutes left, Spiric started the rally with a pair of three throws before Hardy's two foul shots with 39 seconds remaining pulled the Huskers within 66-64. After a Whitaker free throw pushed the lead to three points, Spiric answered with a lay-up to make it 67-66. Whitaker then split a pair of foul shots with 28 seconds left, before Spiric sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left.
The Huskers trailed nearly the entire first overtime period, using some more good fortune to nearly prevail in the first extra session. Trailing 78-76, Baylor's Steffanie Blackmon, who scored eight of Baylor's 12 points in the first overtime, was falling out of bounds and called timeout, but Baylor was out of timeouts. The resulting technical free throws by Johansen tied the score at 78, the first tie of the overtime period.
On the ensuing possession, Hardy gave the Huskers an 80-78 lead with a short jumper with 7.2 second left. The Bears raced down to get a final shot, when Sophia Young nailed a jumper with two tenths of a second remaining to force another five minutes.
Young scored a team-high 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Blackmon finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 1:49 remaining in the third overtime. Chanelle Fox added career highs with 14 points and 10 boards to give three Bears double-doubles on the night.