WBB:Huskers Power Past Kansas, 65-57

Nebraska overcame a 51-49 deficit with just 3:20 to play in the game to outscore homestanding Kansas 13-2 over the next 2:30 and leave Allen Fieldhouse with a 65-57 win over the Jayhawks on Wednesday night.

With the victory, Nebraska improved to 13-10 overall and 5-7 in the Big 12, while Kansas slipped to 14-9 and 3-9 in the league. The win also gave the Huskers their first-ever combined season sweeps over Kansas and Colorado in more than 30 years of women's basketball at Nebraska.

Kiera Hardy, who finished with a team-high 19 points, knocked down a three-pointer with 2:23 left to give the Huskers the lead for good at 54-51, for her first points of the second half. The 5-6 junior guard from Kansas City, Mo., scored 14 points in the first half, including nine points on a trio of three-pointers in the game's first four minutes.

Hardy's second-half three-pointer followed a Jessica Gerhart jumper that tied the score with three minutes left in the game to end a five-minute scoring drought for the Huskers. Gerhart finished with 14 points, including eight in the second half, on 6-of-9 shooting from the field for the game.

Hardy, Gerhart and LaToya Howell combined to score NU's final 16 points in the final three minutes. Howell scored all five of her points in the final 1:30. She added five rebounds and a game-high seven assists to go along with three steals.

After Hardy's three-pointer gave NU the lead, Gerhart hit a second jumper after a pair of free throws by KU's Erica Hallman to keep the Husker lead at three points at 56-53. Howell then came up with one of the game's biggest plays, stealing the ball from Jayhawk point guard Ivana Catic at halfcourt and sprinting to the basket for an uncontested layup to give NU a 58-53 lead.

Nebraska then got a defensive stop and Hardy was fouled with 1:09 left. She hit a pair of free throws to push NU's lead to 60-53, before Howell had two more free throws to give the Huskers their biggest lead of the night at 62-53 with 51 seconds to play.

Along with the contributions from Howell, the Huskers got strong performances off the bench from sophomore forward Danielle Page and freshman guard TK LaFleur. Page finished with seven points, seven rebounds and three steals while playing a season-high 25 minutes. LaFleur added seven points of her own, including a huge three-pointer to stop a KU surge after the Jayhawks took a 44-40 lead on Kaylee Brown's three-pointer with 11 minutes to play in the game.

LaFleur's three-pointer sparked a 9-0 Husker run capped by a pair of Page field goals, the last one coming with 8:09 to play to turn a 44-40 KU lead into a 49-44 NU advantage.

Page's performance was particularly important since freshman forward Kelsey Griffin played just 18 minutes because of foul trouble. Griffin, who had averaged 22.7 points per game in Nebraska's three previous games, finished with just five points, three rebounds and three steals.

Chelsea Aubry also provided a lift for the Huskers with a pair of three-pointers early in the second half to finish with six points, as seven Huskers scored five or more points on the night.

For the game, Nebraska shot 43.4 percent (23-53) from the field, including a sizzling 46.7 percent (7-15) from three-point range. NU also hit 66.7 percent (12-18) of its free throws, including a 7-for-8 performance in the second half. The Huskers committed just nine turnovers on the night, while forcing 16 turnovers by the Jayhawks.

Crystal Kemp led Kansas with 19 points and six rebounds in 39 minutes of work, but she did not score a point in the game's final 12:26, as Page contained the Jayhawk forward down the stretch.

Hallman finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Brown added 11 points and five rebounds. The rest of the Jayhawks combined for just 12 points on the night, as KU shot just 40 percent (20-50) from the field, including 36.4 percent (4-11) from three-point range. Kansas was a perfect 13-of-13 at the free throw line and outrebounded NU, 34-31.

Hardy got off to a hot start for the Huskers by knocking down her first three three-point attempts in the game's first four minutes to shoot Nebraska to a quick 11-4 lead.

The Jayhawks answered with an 8-0 run to take a 12-11 lead with just under 11 minutes to play, and Husker forwards Griffin and Aubry spent significant time on the bench after being whistled for two personal fouls in the game's first eight minutes.

Nebraska stopped the Kansas run thanks to an offensive surge from Gerhart, who scored six points in the first 12 minutes. Page also gave the Huskers a boost in the first half with three points and six rebounds while slowing down Kemp.

The Huskers return to home action on Saturday when they clash with the Kansas State Wildcats. Tip-off at the Devaney Center is set for 7:05 p.m. with live radio coverage on the Pinnacle Sports Network, including 1400 KLIN-AM in Lincoln, and on Huskers.com.

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