Des Moines, Iowa – Alexis Markowski scored a game-high 21 points, but Nebraska fell behind early and was unable to recover in an 80-62 women’s basketball loss to Drake at the Knapp Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskers slipped to 2-2 while the Bulldogs improved to 2-1 on the year.
Isabelle Bourne contributed nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds inside for the Big Red, while Jaz Shelley pitched in nine points and six assists. Annika Stewart also put up nine points and six rebounds off the bench for the Huskers.
Sophomore guard Kate Dinnebier led three Bulldogs in double figures with 18 points and six assists, while Maggie Bair pitched in 17 points and nine rebounds. Bair scored 10 of her points in the second quarter to help thwart a strong Nebraska rally and send Drake to halftime with a 38-26 lead.
Sarah Beth Gueldner poured in 16 points, including four three-pointers, to round out the Drake trio in double figures. Gueldner scored 14 points in the first half, including 11 in the first quarter to help shoot the Bulldogs to a 21-12 edge after the opening 10 minutes.
As a team, Nebraska hit just 31 percent (22-71) of its shots from the field, including just 5-of-24 (.208) three-pointers. NU went 13-of-15 from the free throw line and won the turnover battle, 20-14, but allowed Drake to hit 55.4 percent (31-56) of its shots, including 9-of-21 (.429) threes. Drake hit just 9-of-15 free throws, but out-rebounded, NU 42-36.
Nebraska opened the game with a 1-0 lead after a Shelley free throw that resulted from an administrative technical because of shot clock problem in the Knapp Center. After Drake won the tip and got a layup from Megan Meyer, who finished with seven points, Markowski knocked down a three to give the Big Red a 4-2 lead just 40 seconds into the game.
Gueldner answered with a three before a Shelley layup put the Huskers back up 6-5. Drake then scored six straight points as part of an 11-1 surge to take a 16-7 lead after another Gueldner three-pointer with 4:15 left in the first quarter.
Bair opened the second quarter with a three-pointer to give the Bulldogs their first double-digit lead at 24-12, but Markowski then sparked Nebraska’s biggest rally of the game with five straight points to open a 12-0 run over the next 5:40.
With the game tied at 24-24 with 3:22 left in the half, Bair stopped the run with another three-pointer. She scored four more points as part of a 14-2 surge to end the half to retake Drake’s 12-point edge.
Markowski opened the second half with another three-pointer to briefly cut Drake’s edge to single digits at 38-29, but Bair responded with four straight points before a Dinnebier bucket capped a 6-0 run and put Drake in front 44-29. The Bulldogs maintained the 15-point margin (60-45) at the end of three quarters and NU was unable to trim the lead back to single digits at any point in the final 18 minutes.
Nebraska returns to non-conference home action with its first-ever clash with Tarleton on Tuesday. Tip-off between the Huskers and Texans at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 6 p.m.