Alexis Markowski continued her strong play with a team-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds to lead a balanced Nebraska attack in a 77-44 women’s basketball win over Wisconsin on Thursday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska improved to 14-4 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten, while Wisconsin slipped to 5-14 and 2-7 in the conference.
Markowski, a 6-3 freshman from Lincoln, produced double figures in points for the sixth consecutive game while making her fifth straight start. Markowski finished the night 6-of-12 from the field, including Nebraska’s first seven points of the night beginning with a three-pointer to open the contest.
Sam Haiby returned from injury to add 11 points and four assists, while Jaz Shelley nearly added a double-double with nine rebounds and nine assists to go with five points. A total of 11 different Huskers scored at least three points in the game.
Nebraska’s 33-point margin matched its largest in history in a Big Ten Conference game, joining a 33-point win over Michigan (84-51) on Jan. 29, 2014. The Husker bench outscored the Badger reserves 30-3 in the contest, as NU’s reserves combined to play 83 minutes in the contest.
As a team, Nebraska hit 47.8 percent (33-69) of its shots from the field, including 32 percent (8-25) from three-point range. The Huskers also hit 3-of-6 free throws. The Big Red out-rebounded the Badgers 43-35 and won the turnover battle, 18-9. NU held UW to just 32.1 percent (18-56) shooting, including just 3-of-22 (.136) from three-point range. The Badgers did hit 5-of-7 free throws. Sydney Hilliard led Wisconsin with a game-high 16 points, while Julie Pospisilova added 12 points.
Despite a 10-day layoff from competition and substantial missed practice time, Nebraska shot to a strong start, putting together a 14-0 run midway through the first period to take a 19-10 lead after the first 10 minutes. Markowski led NU with eight first-quarter points while Haiby added five and freshman Kendall Moriarty pitched in four big points off the bench. Moriarty finished the game with six points on 3-of-3 shooting to go along with two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
The Huskers continued to push ahead in the second quarter, outscoring the Badgers 12-2 in the first four minutes to take their biggest lead of the half at 31-12. Ashley Scoggin led the Big Red with a pair of long three-pointers during the opening surge, while Haiby and Markowski each added four points in the period.
Nebraska took a 37-21 lead to the locker room at the half thanks to 48.5 percent (16-33) shooting, including 4-of-13 threes (.308). The Huskers held Wisconsin to just 10-of-32 shooting (.313), including 0-for-11 from three-point range. NU won the first-half battle of the boards, 22-18, and held a 7-5 edge in turnovers. Hilliard led the Badgers with 12 points of 6-of-6 shooting, but the other eight Badgers who saw action combined for just nine points in the half.
The Huskers extended the margin to 57-35 at the end of three periods after building the lead to 24 points midway through the quarter. Bella Cravens led NU with five points in the period, while Annika Stewart added four inside. Scoggin and Ruby Porter also knocked down three-pointers in the period. Cravens finished with seven points and seven rebounds in her return to the starting lineup for the first time since suffering an ankle injury at Michigan State on Dec. 30. Scoggin closed with nine points in the game on 3-of-6 three-point shooting.
Nebraska extended the margin to 33 points with 50 seconds left with a pair of buckets by Allison Weidner around a three-pointer by walk-on Whitney Brown. Weidner finished with six points and two steals while Brown added five points in eight minutes.
The Huskers continue their four-game Big Ten Conference home stand on Sunday when they take on Purdue.