Huskers Fall to Cyclones in Overtime

The Nebraska women's basketball team suffered its fourth one-possession loss of the season in its first overtime game of the year with a 79-76 setback to Iowa State in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the COX Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The fourth-seeded Huskers slipped to 22-9 on the season while the Cyclones improved to 24-8 on the year with their seventh consecutive victory, including their second in the 12-team tournament. ISU, which matched Nebraska with a 10-6 conference record this season, earned a trip to the Big 12 semifinals, while the Huskers will return to Lincoln to await the announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket on Monday, March 12, at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Nebraska led 70-67 after a pair of Danielle Page free throws with 9.7 seconds left. Page, who scored 12 of her points after halftime, had given NU a 68-66 lead with her layup with 1:08 left. Page who stole an ISU inbounds pass and was fouled to set up her free throws, made big plays down the stretch to help the Huskers overcome a 65-60 ISU lead with four minutes left.

But Cyclone senior Lyndsey Medders made big plays of her own to lead the Cyclones to the victory. Medders took the inbounds pass and ran the length of the floor to hit a three-pointer at the top of the key while fading to her left with 1.7 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime tied at 70.

Medders added seven of ISU's nine points in overtime, including four straight free throws to seal the win. The first-team All-Big 12 guard finished with a game-high 27 points.

Despite the clutch plays by Medders, the Huskers were still in position to send the game to a second overtime as three-time first-team All-Big 12 guard Kiera Hardy had her three from the top of the key at the buzzer miss the mark. It was the fourth time this season that Hardy had a chance to win or tie a game on the final possession, including the third time in NU's last five losses.

Hardy finished with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists while taking over the Big 12's active career three-point lead with 264 and crossing the 1,900-point career scoring mark.

Sophomore forward Kelsey Griffin, a first-team All-Big 12 selection, led the Huskers with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Senior Jelena Spiric added 10 points and three rebounds for NU.

As a team, Nebraska shot 45.8 percent (27-59) from the field, including 38.9 percent (7-18) from three-point range, despite hitting just 28 percent from the field in the second half. ISU finished the game at 43.1 percent (25-58), but connected on 11-of-20 (55 percent) of its three-point attempts.  The Huskers won the rebounding battle 38-30 and outscored ISU, 9-0, in second chance points.

Nebraska also hit 15-of-19 free throws, including eight straight in the final four minutes of regulation and overtime. ISU hit 18-of-23 free throws, including its final five down the stretch.

The Huskers were firing on all cylinders in the first half, hitting 64 percent (18-28) of their field goal attempts, including 6-of-12 three-pointers to take a 45-36 lead to the locker room at halftime. Griffin got the Huskers off to a great start by scoring 11 of NU's first 18 points in the opening nine minutes. Hardy shot NU to its biggest lead of the half at 30-20 by scoring eight of the Huskers' next 12 to finish the opening period with 12 points.

Spiric and Cory Montgomery also gave NU big lifts in the first half, as Spiric knocked down a pair of three-pointers and Montgomery scored five points, including a three-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds to shoot NU to a nine-point halftime lead.

The hot shooting by the Huskers allowed them to overcome 52 percent (13-25) shooting from the Cyclones in the first half that included a 4-of-10 effort from three-point range.


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