Nebraska Drop's Nail-Biter at Texas Tech

Kiera Hardy scored a game-high 26 points, but missed a three-pointer at the top of the key off the front of the rim as time expired in Texas Tech's 61-59 win over the Nebraska women's basketball team at the United Spirit Arena on Saturday night.

Playing in front 12,204 fans and a national television audience, Hardy overcame a back injury suffered on a hard fall late in the first half to score 14 points in the second half to shoot the Huskers to a five-point lead with under four minutes to play. But in a defensive struggle, Texas Tech shut out the Huskers in the final three minutes and scored the game's final seven points to escape with the victory.

Hardy scored 14 of NU's final 16 points in the game's final 11 minutes, but Nebraska still slipped to 10-7 overall and 2-4 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech evened its record at 8-8 overall and improved to 3-2 in league action. All three of Tech's Big 12 wins have been by two points or less, while both of its losses have been by six or fewer points.

Hardy hit 9-of-16 shots from the field, including 4-of-7 three-pointers, but she missed her final two three-point attempts in the game's final minute. Hardy also hit 4-of-4 free throws and grabbed four rebounds in a gutsy performance for the 5-6 guard from Kansas City, Mo.

Freshman forward Kelsey Griffin added 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the Huskers in another strong effort. Jessica Gerhart pitched in eight points, three rebounds and two assists for NU.

Nebraska led 59-54 after Hardy's final basket of the night before Texas Tech point guard Erin Grant hit a jumper with 3:29 left to cut NU's lead to three. Tech scored the final five points of the game at the free throw line, including a pair from Grant to tie the game with 1:40 left, and three from Lady Raider forward LaToya Davis, including the game winners with 55 seconds left.

Davis finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Grant finished with seven points, five rebounds and 10 assists. Alesha Robertson added 16 points and eight rebounds. Robertson hit four three-pointers on the night, including a three in the final eight minutes, and another field goal with 13:15 left in the game, as the Lady Raiders hit three field goals in the final 13 minutes and just five field goals in the second half. The Lady Raiders hit 13-of-16 free throws in the second half.

For the game, Nebraska shot 41 percent (25-61) from the field, while hitting 45.5 percent (5-11) of its three-pointers. Unfortunately, Nebraska, the Big 12's best free throw shooting team, hit just 4-of-9 free throws.

Texas Tech shot just 37.7 percent (20-53), including just 20.8 percent in the second half. The Lady Raiders shot 35.3 percent (6-17), but were just 1-of-6 from long range in the second half. Tech hit 71.4 percent (15-21) of its free throws, while outscoring NU 15-4 at the line.

Texas Tech outrebounded NU, 38-35, while both teams grabbed 15 offensive boards. The Huskers committed just 11 turnovers, while Tech turned the ball over just 12 times.

The Huskers got off to a solid start, as Hardy opened with a three-pointer from the wing in transition to give NU a quick 3-0 lead. Nebraska extended its lead to seven points on Hardy's runner in the lane to give the Huskers a 9-2 lead five minutes into the action.

Texas Tech then made an offensive surge as Robertson hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut Nebraska's lead to 9-8 with 13 minutes left in the half. Hardy stopped the run with another basket to push NU's lead back to 11-8, before the Lady Raiders went on a 10-0 run sparked by a pair of three-pointers by Brooke Baughman to give Tech an 18-13 lead with 8:45 to play in the first half.

The Huskers responded with a surge of their own to tie the game at 21 on Griffin's hook shot in the center of the lane, and tied the game again at 23 on a Gerhart jumper with 5:23 to play in the half. The Lady Raiders answered by scoring nine straight points to take their biggest lead of the half at 32-23 with 2:31 left, but Griffin hit a putback with five seconds left in the half to cut Tech's lead to 37-30 at intermission.

Hardy led the Huskers with 12 first-half points before leaving the game with 1:16 left in the half after falling hard to the floor while trying to block a shot by Tech's Darrice Griffin. Hardy left the court in pain but returned for the start of the second half.

Griffin and Gerhart each added six points for the Huskers in the opening period, while Davis led all scorers with 17 first-half points for Texas Tech. Robertson pitched in 11 points on the strength of a trio of three-pointers.

Nebraska returns to action next Saturday at the Devaney Center when the Huskers play host to Colorado. Tip-off time with the Buffaloes is set for 7:05 p.m.

The Huskers' Dollar Days/Pack the Devaney promotion that was originally schedule for the Jan. 28 game with Colorado has been moved to the Feb. 11 game with Texas A&M. The game with the Aggies, which will be televised live nationally by Fox Sports Net, is set to tip-off at 1 p.m.

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